Waiting

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Waiting.

It seems I’ve been doing that a lot these last few days.

Waiting for the road to be plowed.

Waiting to hear if my meeting would be cancelled.

Waiting for the cold weather to ease up.

Waiting for bread to rise.

Waiting for more information.

Waiting.

That’s too short a word to describe the act of it.

The “ting” on the end gives it a lilt it doesn’t deserve.

It should be replaced by one of those long, impossible-to-spell, difficult-to-pronounce words that seem to go on and on and on.

Like “onomatopoeia”, maybe.

In it’s purest and best form, waiting is anticipation: waiting for Santa Claus; waiting for the bell to ring; waiting for the announcement.

Usually, though, even when the wait is for something wonderful, the “waiting for…” takes the joy right out of the phrase. Compare:

“The baby has arrived!”

“…Waiting for the baby to arrive.”

Too often, the wait sounds like a state of Limbo, where everything is on hold until the much desired occurrence comes about:

Waiting for my ship to come in…”

Waiting for the right man/a good job/a better deal…”

“Still waiting for that apology/a raise/the respect I deserve…”

Sometimes it sounds downright fatalistic:

“Just waiting for this day/week/year to be over!”

So what happens then? We start on another long day that we can’t wait to be finished with, in our long string of days that make up our lives as we wait – inevitably – for our lives to be over.

Waiting for death.

There has to be more to life than that!

When my friend, Russell, knew that he was dying, he took his adult children to help him stock up on liquid refreshments, as, “folks will be stopping by.” He took his family on a ferry boat ride. He got up to see the sunrise and share coffee every morning.

When my Mom knew that she was dying, she decided she was going to live her days in the comfort of cozy pajamas, read just the books that would lift her spirits and eat only what tasted best to her. She welcomed family and friends around her, reconnected, reminisced and shared memories. She made note of the weather and her view of the lake (“the best view!”) every single day.

These people, with numbered days, were not waiting for death…but living.

This has been my intent: to live with purpose and direction; to pay attention and appreciate each day; to live in the moment.

Sometimes, though, it seems I still find myself waiting.

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About cindyricksgers

I am an artist. I live on an island in northern Lake Michigan, USA. I have two grown daughters, four strong, smart and handsome grandsons and one beautiful, intelligent and charming granddaughter. I live with two spoiled dogs. I love walking in the woods around my home, reading, writing and playing in my studio.

18 responses »

  1. the “ing” is active isn’t it, which seems to go against the actual act of the word wait, sitting around twiddling your thumbs waiting for something to happen doesn’t feel active does it ? A lovely post Cindy, especially the references to your friend and mother – a reminder to us all to live, sorry that should be living!

    • Oh, thanks, Claire…you are always so encouraging! I think, since the invention of the queue, we have all learned to make best use of it, with little activities to fill the waiting time. It’s not quite the same as living in the moment, when one eye is on that other thing that I’m waiting on, though. Thank you for reading, and for your comments!

  2. good advice – as our minister preached about Advent being a period of waiting, and as our daughter waited for her baby to be born in December, “waiting” was a theme for me in the past month – I appreciate the reminder to live today one day at a time a treasure it – Happy New Year – I enjoy your blog.

    • Happy New Year to you, as well, and congratulations on a new baby in your family! Yes, sometimes “waiting” does seem to be an underscoring theme, no matter how hard we try to live in the present moment. Thank you for reading, and for your kind comments!

  3. I often tell people I am a good wait-er! Mostly it’s because I find something to do while in that state of waiting. So I might be reading, or walking, or tending the garden, or…….hmmmm…..living. So, I don’t wait for the road to be plowed, I sit and read until the road is plowed and I can do something else. Never analyzed it like this but now I see why I am a good wait-er – it’s because I don’t actually wait! This was me, thinking aloud.

    • Oh, Joss, this is great…and exactly what we should all do, all the time. I’m pretty good at it mostly, but this last week it has been a struggle. So many things hinged on one thing happening. If the meeting was not cancelled, for instance, I had to arrange a flight, have the car dug out of its spot in airport parking, arrange to have someone else teach my art class, prepare myself for a four hour drive on bad roads, bring the dogs to the boarders and make arrangements for lodging in Lansing. If it was cancelled, I had to cancel my reserved kennel at the dog boarders, beg for hours back at the three jobs I had requested time off from and let family members know I would not be visiting. I filled the time, but it was always with trepidation and anticipation of all the things that had to be accomplished when that – out of my control – decision was made. Not my best “living in the moment”! It seemed many things took on that same authority over my mental state. It helped to write it out. Thanks for reading, and for your comments!

  4. I really enjoyed reading this blog about waiting. May we perhaps remember the story about your friend’s dying. Waiting transformed into living. I like that view and will endeavor to embrace it next time the mind bemoans waiting as something to get through.

    • Thank you, Kathy….I think it’s something most of us struggle with at one time or another. Last week was the time for me, and I needed to remind myself to not waste time with frustration.

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