Waiting. It is something we learn from a very early age. Wait. Wait for me. Wait for your turn. Wait just a minute. Wait up. Then it evolves into waiting for news. Waiting for a report. Waiting rooms. Waiting for graduation. Waiting until they are grown up. Waiting until this happens or that doesn't happen.
Last week I was waiting for something. I can't even remember what exactly it was. I was in the car I think. And suddenly this peace, excitement, this buzz came over me. What if...? What if I get what I want? What if the news is good? What if he notices me? What if she asks me? What if? That is the best part of waiting. We can have the fantasy! We are all waiting for something. Let the buzz set in and enjoy the wait.
My students were waiting for Christmas. Starting in late October. I had one student tell me he was sad. "Do you know why I'm sad?" he asked. "Because it's not Christmas!" he answered his own question. So we started a countdown board. Each day he changed the number on the board until we finally got to vacation. We were all waiting. That excitement of waiting is part of the joys of childhood Christmases. When I told my own children how funny this student was, Charlie said, "Mom, you have to tell him to be happy, because he has more time to ask for more things!" While I wouldn't encourage us to make our lists longer while we wait, I think we should realize that the wait is part of the fun. Unfortunately as adults we can wait a little longer, we can use another day, another week, another shopping trip to try to make it more perfect. (I hate to admit this, but bleaching pine cones is on my list. Crazy. Absolutely nuts. Yes. But they are so beautiful!) Our lists do grow longer and longer and we think, "If I could just do this..." Don't get sucked in. There are 6 days left. Cut your list, or what's left on it, in half. Think of the sanity you will save. (I'm keeping bleached pine cones on the list until Monday. If it's not done by then, off it goes.)
When I think about waiting, it seems like we try to avoid it at all costs. Don't wait for what you want, go and get it. Don't wait - act now! Don't wait to fulfill your dreams. Don't wait until it's too late. But there is something to be said for waiting. Warren Buffet says something about never regretting waiting to act on a decision, that time is the friend of the wise. That's what I'm thinking - we should just enjoy the wait.
My mother teases because my kids always say, "Wait, what?" It's like they missed some significant piece of news and need a second to catch up. I realized it is rather funny once she pointed it out to me, but really I say it too. "Wait, what?" I say it to my kids. "Wait, What do you need? Wait, Where are you going? Wait, What's happening? Wait, Who are you talking about?" The answer kind of refocuses you. Oh, that, you say. Yes, yes. I get it now. This last week of waiting, Advent, I'm going to try to refocus. "Wait, what? Christmas?" Oh, yes. I remember. Giving, loving, family, joy? Yes. I got it. We are so distracted by the razzle-dazzle, we get frazzled. We all need to say, "Wait, what?" Then, just wait!