I spent this morning in a waiting room.
Not coz I had nothing better to do.
And not coz there was anything wrong with me. Thank you kindly for asking.
It was for my cat. Yes, the things you do for love.
While I was waiting for my cat to be seen, I got thinking about waiting. Coz that is what you do when you are waiting in a waiting room. It seemed appropriate.
And it occurred to me we spend a lot of time waiting for things to happen in life.
We spend a lot of time waiting for things to happen.
When I was single, I felt like I was waiting for a husband. Or waiting for God to get cracking on the whole husband thing. Or a little of both.
We are often waiting for an uncomfortable situation to resolve. Like an interpersonal conflict. We might be waiting for the other person to cool off. Or stop sulking. Or die.
We might be waiting for an answer. We could be waiting to hear back after a job interview. We could be waiting for medical test results. We might be waiting to know if the nursing home for our relative has a vacancy. We might be waiting for feedback on a project.
There is spiritual waiting as well. We might be waiting for an answer or clarity on an issue from God. We might be waiting for a new direction in life. We might be waiting for healing.
Some forms of waiting can be harder than others.
Some forms of waiting are harder than others.
I think waiting is one of the hardest things to do on this planet. Sitting in limbo, unable to make future plans, not knowing where you are heading; it is a trying situation for anybody. The suspense of waiting can be a killer.
I often get to a point, during a wait like that, where I would rather just resolve the situation one way or another. Even if it is bad news. Even if it is a disaster. I just need an answer.
But what if we are going about waiting the wrong way?
Perhaps waiting is not so much about marathon endurance. Perhaps it is more about serving. As in waiting on tables.
Perhaps waiting is more about serving.
I am not suggesting we all ditch our current vocations to pursue hospitality. I merely think we could reclaim the word ‘waiting’. After all, it has been given a bad rap. No-one loves the idea of waiting.
Getting back to the waiting-on-tables analogy. When you are ‘waiting on’ someone, you are not passively getting by, nor are you surviving through gritted teeth. You are taking action. You are serving that person. You are doing whatever is needed, at that time, in that place.
Perhaps our ‘waiting’ could be like that. Waiting on others, waiting on God, serving as best as we can, wherever we may find ourselves.
I waited on my cat this morning. I sang to her. I played with her through the holes in the cat box. I kept her company. I did the best I could while we waited together. I like to think it helped.
Hey, it was way better than the alternative of phone scrolling.
How do you cope with seasons of waiting in life? What are your tips for surviving the waiting room? How can you serve others, and God, right where you are? Share your story – let’s have a countercultural conversation.