Shut Up and Wait

We’ve all seen the studies about how much time in our day is wasted on waiting. Waiting in lines, waiting at stop lights, waiting for traffic to clear up, waiting at the movies… Even though we can learn and exercise patience during those situations, most people haven’t done any REAL waiting. The kind of waiting that can suck your soul out and chew it up before breakfast. I’m only 34, but I’ve done some of that intense, horrible, mind numbing kind of waiting.

I’ve waited to find out if I had breast cancer. I did.

I’ve waited to find out if my house burned down. It did.

I’ve waited to find out if I had breast cancer in my other breast. I didn’t.

I’ve waited for six chemotherapy appointments to be scheduled. They always happened.

I’ve waited to find out if the mysterious mass on my ovary was cancer. It wasn’t.

I’ve waited to find out if I had a uterus after my last surgery. I did.

Now, that I’m waiting for the official test results and the “what now” doctor’s appointment for Jake (read “Jake’s Tummy”), I’ve realized I’m terrible at waiting. I’m not patient, or nice, or peaceful. I get antsy. I clean things that don’t need to be cleaned. I don’t sleep well. I get mean to people around me, impatient with everyone, and just stinking cranky. My prayers get demanding and not nice. Sometimes I think that even God wants to tell me to stop talking and chill out! Too often, I’m like the kid in the grocery store who was told she has to wait for candy and lays on the floor kicking and screaming. Yeah, that’s attractive.

I saw a movie when I was little and even though I don’t remember anything else about it, one scene stuck in my mind. A rather vicious army was invading another country and a group of men waited to oppose and hopefully stop them. One warrior, rather than being antsy and anxious and cleaning his already shining sword, sat down on the ground. He knelt in the classic samurai position-feet tucked under, hands laying open on his thighs, eyes closed, sword tucked under his elbow. He waited, quietly, gathering his strength around him while the army got closer and closer. He didn’t move a muscle until a madman was a few feet away and raising his sword to strike. At the last moment, he opened his eyes, picked up his sword and effortlessly ran his opponent through. He went on to fight with all that strength he had gathered and the army was defeated.

I wish I could wait like that. I want to wait like that.

Over and over and over the writers of the Psalms talk about waiting. I’ve always wondered if they wrote those verses with tears streaming, hands clenched, jaw set. Or, did they wait patiently and peacefully? I’d like to think that some of them were like me and maybe wrote “I will wait patiently” a hundred times over like a child being punished writes lines until the words sinks into her soul.

Sometimes the thing we are waiting for is terrible and awful and we desperately need to be ready and strong for it. I don’t know how many times I worried and fretted so much that by the time the thing I was waiting for actually arrived, I was exhausted and spent. The strength I should have been gathering wasn’t there, because I didn’t choose to wait in the presence and peace of God.

I think by being an impatient and stinky wait-er, I’ve missed out on what God has to offer during the times of waiting. God gives us times when we don’t know what to do next not because He is mean or cranky with us. He gives us that time so that we can rest before the battle. We can have time to do the things we need to do, take care of what needs to be fixed or readied and to gain strength. He loves us so much and wants to “gather us under His wings” while we wait. He gives us the choice, though, of whether or not we will be “gathered” and comforted.

I don’t want to sit outside the realm of God’s peace and throw rocks at the coming darkness. Doing that only makes me tired, sore, cranky and worried. I want to crawl into the lap of my Heavenly Father and seek His arms, His peace, His joy, His strength.

I’d love to tell you this time next year that I’m fantastic at waiting. But, I’ll settle for just doing better. I’ll let you know how it goes. But, you’re gonna have to wait to find out. J

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12 Responses to Shut Up and Wait

  1. Becky says:

    Yay. Excellent. Thank you.

  2. Carol Wiley says:

    Thanks for sharing. I too am terrible at waiting. Just give me whatever I have to face so I can face it, but the waiting part is the pits. God must think I need to work on that. LOL

  3. Mom says:

    wow — great thoughts! I hope I can remember them myself! What the dickens kind of movies did we let you watch??

  4. Lori says:

    Mary – I could read your writing for a really long time…I’m not a great wait-er but I’d be willing to wait for your next post! If you have a chance, check Lisa S.’s (from temple) blog – she also has a wonderful one on waiting! Keeping good thoughts for Jake (& his parents!)

  5. Michael says:

    Mary, this is the best essay I have seen you write yet. I felt you captured exactly that essence of prayer and meditation–meditation in particular–that I so often miss. Thank you.

  6. Ruth says:

    like! alot! …want to watch that movie 🙂

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  9. Dyann says:

    excellent insights, Mary. thanks.

  10. Pingback: Waiting To Move | Back Porch Swing

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