I watched the kids swim while I sat in my wheelchair behind the glass in the lounge area waiting…
The kids had wheeled me into the recreation center and then proceeded to dart to the pool area like it was Disneyland, squealing with delight at the prospect of swimming for FUN on a SCHOOL night for my son’s 9th birthday. I just had to be there with my precious boy on his birthday. I needed to be a part of this, of something other than lamenting my pain and my restrictions at home. I’ve been stuck in a leg cast for eight weeks, and today was the day of liberation from that cast…only to find a new heavier brace on my leg to lug around for another month. As my leg throbbed from the transitional pull and push into something new and harsh and heavy, I found once again, that dreaded word.
I had to pee. I always have to pee. This is not a good thing when you are unable to use one leg. It means all kinds of trouble. It implies the ever-present need must be met often…and the met part is not easy. I was stuck in my wheelchair waiting, while the kids were soaked in the flow of water and joy.
My husband had dropped us all off, and went on his way downtown to work on a property for a few hours. I sat and watched my kids have a glorious time together in the pool, thinking how wonderful it was they were enjoying each other so beautifully- a celebration of siblings on such a significant day. Oh, how I loved to see this. I felt my foot and ankle throbbing, so I kept pulling it up on the ledge of the window, with hopes to alleviate the pain. No such luck. I was hoping my husband would show up soon, so he could wheel me down the hallway and help me into the bathroom.
By the time he got there and I filled him in on the fun they’d been having, the pool was closing and it was time to go. He left me once again, to go get the kids and supervise the showers and changing-
While I waited some more.
When we finally arrived home to have our cookie cake and wrap up the day, I sighed and murmured-
“I have been waiting to go to the bathroom all night.”
I hoisted myself onto the scooter and slowly clunked my way hitting doorways and hallway walls to get to the bathroom.
As I passed my chlorine soaked birthday boy, he said,
“Mom, you’re really getting good at waiting.”
And it hit me.
I have been challenged in countless ways during this season of healing, and yet the greatest obstacle of all has been the waiting.
Waiting, waiting, waiting…
Waiting to heal. Waiting to sleep. Waiting to eat. Waiting to clean. Waiting to pee. Waiting to bathe. Waiting for laundry. Waiting for rides. Waiting to be an active mother again, and a true participant in life. Waiting for the pain to stop along with this excruciating dependence for everything. Waiting for things I cannot control…
So much waiting.
And apparently, I have gotten better at it.
I kept thinking about what my sweet boy said to me, and I began to follow the waiting trail back for weeks, then months, then years. I traced the waiting through dreams holding their breath, and love’s lingering hope. I recounted the many times I waited to hear back from music studios, job interviews, applications, submissions, schools, insurance settlements, doctors, lab tests and diagnoses. I think about those longer waits, lasting years. Those seasons of wondering and hoping for what’s to come, time periods of wishing things would change, days upon days of searching for the right man, the right home, the right medicine to make my daughter well.
I thought about parenting my two kids and how every single day is about waiting: leading and waiting, watching and waiting, teaching and waiting, hoping and praying anxiously that they ‘arrive’ where I want them to be- both figuratively and literally. Waiting through all those long gaps of time they are away from me, praying they are okay. Waiting for one stage to be over and a new one to begin. Waiting for them to poop, to get their shoes on, to respond when I call them, and get their chores done.
Apparently, SO much of my life lives in waiting.
And I am betting yours does too.
It ain’t easy, is it? I know.
Waiting is a part of our every day, down to the detailed grit of over-crowded stores, traffic delays, phone calls on hold, school pick up lines and loading those apps.
I wonder how much time I have spent waiting in my 48 years of living. I wonder if I did anything worthwhile with all that time.
I’m hoping I did.
Because if I just ruminated on ‘what ifs’ or ‘when wills’ or ‘come ONs’… I’m not sure I can say that I have had a productive waiting career.
I’m thinking I wasted a lot of time stewing on those very things.
But waiting can be where our greatest growth occurs.
Think about it.
I realize that time in the stuck: wondering, questioning, worrying, wishing, hoping, may actually bring new strength we never knew we had. That angst and anticipation, that frustration and surrendering, that ongoing challenge of acceptance and peace in the *now* can surely result in something great-
Like endurance, perseverance, maturity, wisdom, and learning the art of being fulfilled without being full or filled. It can teach us how to trust in God’s will, and not ours. It can plunge us deep into surrender and reveal to us a new layer of fortification, sanctification, and even transformation.
But it can be wrapped around other hard barbed wire that makes it sting, instead of sustain.
Bitterness, comparison, jealousy, discouragement, defeat, despair, frustration, anger, hopelessness…
Been there. And if you must wait long… It’s. Tough. To. Take.
Perhaps practice makes perfect. If we really dig in and open our eyes to discover the opportunities while we wait, maybe we can look back once we’re done waiting, and see the glaring possibility that the waiting was meant to be- for something.
Though there are bridges that seem to endlessly take us nowhere… we may in fact realize that the bridge itself is our training ground that isn’t measured by the miles across, but by the strength of it’s architecture.
The bridge itself can be quite beautiful, if we build it and deliberately design its presence. It could actually be exquisite. Maybe even better than what we dreamed was on the other side. Within endurance and perseverance, we can discover extraordinary life lessons.
All I can say for sure is that I’ve gotten ‘better at waiting’.
Instead of declaring, “It was worth the wait!” We were able to claim,
“It was a worthy wait.”
I’d like to try to make that happen. How about you?