I often think about how much time I spend waiting. In line at the grocery store, in the lobby of a restaurant waiting for a table and at a red light, just killing time before the next thing. As I write this, my best friend is ten days late with her first child. She has been pregnant for a long time and she’s done waiting. Who could blame her?
I don’t answer my phone or emails when I write so I can focus and get it done but today my phone won’t stop vibrating. I flip it over to turn it off but a text from best friend’s husband catches my eye, she has gone into the “early stage of labor.” I can’t believe it, as I am writing about waiting I get the text we’ve all been waiting for. I am so excited for them that I get distracted for a few minutes but then the words, “early stage” brings me back to reality. I know that delivering a baby can take all day and I figure we will be waiting a long time. So, I go back to writing about waiting….
It’s a 25 minute wait for your table, follow me your table is ready, wait for your server, order, eat, wait for the check, pay, leave. Get in your car, wait at the red light, go on the green, wait again for the old person in front of you to make a left, keep waiting, go faster to make up the time you just lost waiting. Get home and wait for your favorite show to come on at 9. What are you going to do until then? Kill time and wait.
I used to think that killing time was a bad thing. That every moment should be filed with multi-tasking, thinking about what’s next and doing something to make what you want to happen, happen faster. Nag the hostess for the table. Wave the server over to get your order in quicker. Beep at the old person to drive faster. Go, go, go. Waiting, is something I used to think suckers did. I used to think that I didn’t have time to wait but I have realized that waiting isn’t killing time it’s part of the process and we are only making ourselves stressed and crazy by rushing around like lunatics and deluding ourselves that any of that makes a big difference. OK, sure, you might get the table a few minutes earlier, or make the light if you speed but at what cost? Is waiting really that bad?
Well, apparently it is that bad for me and everyone else waiting for this baby to be born because my phone has started to vibrate again. There’s no news just everyone checking to see if there is news.
No one likes to wait. No one likes to be in limbo. Waiting is uncertainty and no one likes uncertainty. We all want to know what is going to happen and when so we can feel like we have some control over the outcome. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that we have a lot of control over our destinies and I ascribe to Emerson’s philosophy of personal responsibility that, “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” However, I also believe that we take this delusion of control a little too far when it comes to waiting. You may be in control of what YOU do but there are greater forces at work and you have absolutely no control over how and when stuff will happen.
I also believe that everyone gets what they need and if it hasn’t happened yet it doesn’t mean that you won’t get it, it simply means that like my best friend you are in the early stages. Life is a process and waiting is an important part of the process. When baking a cake you can’t leave out part of the process. You can’t skip the flour. Waiting is the same thing, it’s the flour, it’s essential to the recipe. Waiting is like the universe is saying, “Savor this. Take this in, in a moment everything will be different and life is all about moments. Don’t wish them away or fill them with too much stuff so you can’t be in this moment because this moment is all you have. Wait carefully. Make time.”
She’s been admitted to the hospital. I have to take another break to text a few friends and check Facebook. Progress is at a standstill.
Waiting for a baby to be born reminds me that stuff happens when it’s supposed to happen. Your dream will come true when you least expect it or it will morph into something you never even imagined. Waiting allows us to anticipate what’s to come and change our mind if we need to. Waiting is important, it’s a built in time delay, a pause in case you need to make a course correction or if you need to enjoy this moment a little longer.
So, I make dinner and call a friend. We have one of those great conversations that seem to only happen when you’re waiting. Ya know, the kind when nothing significant is really said and you are just enjoying each other’s company because you have the time. A lot of life happens during non-events when you’re just killing time and that’s what we were doing, when it happened. He got the text first and in the middle of his story about something that happened at work he said, “It’s a BOY! 7 pounds, not sure of inches. Lev is his name!”
It’s been a long day of waiting and as I sit down at my computer to finish this right before bed I realize that it’s almost midnight. Normally, I would have been done with this hours ago but all the extra time I took away from writing today wasn’t a waste. My former impatient self would’ve been mad that I didn’t meet my deadline but if I had rushed through this and not gotten distracted by my best friend having a baby I don’t think this post would be nearly as interesting or layered and isn’t that what life is about. It’s not about getting it done or getting there quickly it’s about enjoying the process.
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