To everyone learning to wait,
Last week was Read Across America Day. All controversy aside, I read one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books to my third graders that puts tears in my eyes every time I read it.
One particular part of the story seemed to resonate in my heart more than the others.
“The Waiting Place…
…for people just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for the wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil,
or a Better Break
or a string of pearls,
or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls,
or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.”
It resonated because there are dozens of people like me in life who are “headed, I fear, toward a most useless place. The Waiting Place…” to quote Dr. Seuss.
We’re all learning to wait. I have friends waiting on a house to sell and a house to build, a baby to be born and a baby to be conceived, a partner to change and a partner to marry, to retire from a job and to find a new one . . . Seuss was right. Everyone is just waiting.
But if there’s one thing we all learned in 2021, it’s that Dr. Seuss wasn’t right about everything, and I don’t think he was right about this instance either. Waiting isn’t useless, and neither is the Waiting Place.
Why Waiting Isn’t Useless
Learning to wait gives you time to see what you really need.
When I think back in my life on times when I thought I really knew what I wanted, a few key scenarios come to mind that all ended in the same way.
- There was the time I thought I wanted to be a doctor when I was four (LOL – I hate blood).
- There was the time I really thought Gaucho pants were a good idea (all my millennial females will agree that decision was incorrect).
- The time I thought I could make mom’s apple pie from scratch (Don’t ask me to bake you pie. Ever.)
The truth is . . . we all think we know what we need. And sometimes we do. But I’m learning to trust that God has known not only what I need since the beginning, but when I need it.
Learning to wait makes room for what’s to come.
When I reorganized my cabinets last week, I had to throw away about a thousand pairless tupperware lids to make room for everything else. To have an organized space, I had to throw out everything I didn’t need.
Waiting does the same thing to us. It empties us from pride and replaces it with compassion for others walking similar roads. It empties us from greed and replaces it with gratitude that cannot be matched. Waiting empties us out to make room for what’s coming. And while we may not know how or what exactly is on the horizon, we can rest in knowing that right now, we’re simply making room.
Learning to wait makes you a better you.
When you get the no, oftentimes it’s really a not yet, which can feel like failure . . . And failure is humbling to say the least. But the humbling that feels embarrassing and blameworthy? It is exactly what’s making you ready for what’s to come.
When you’re humbled, it gives you eyes to see the people and places you’re in right now. Humility doesn’t let you zoom into the future when you have what you want, but it plants you tightly where you are for a specific reason.
Truthfully, the people you see on a daily basis need your story. They need your vulnerability. They need the you in the waiting. They need the you in the not yet.
They simply need you.
The place you’re in right now needs your talent. It needs your attention. It needs your all.
It simply needs you.
As you plant yourself where you are in the treacherous waiting, you’ll find that you develop exactly what you need to be a better you.
Be Joyful in Waiting
Recently, I received some news that felt like a no. But like we said, most no’s are really just not yets. I felt a little like a failure. I was a little sad. That’s why I gave myself one evening to be sad. I allowed myself to host a pity party for myself for one short evening. You see, when a “not yet” comes, it’s normal to be sad, and it’s healthy to mourn what isn’t . . . But not for long.
After my scheduled pity evening, I knew it was time to move on. There are reasons to be joyful in the waiting – the biggest one is that there is something or someone that needs you exactly where you are now. You don’t want to miss out on what is because you’re too preoccupied by what isn’t.
Dr. Seuss clearly understood the phases that life brings every adult, and waiting is one of them. But we shouldn’t miss that the waiting place we’re in right now isn’t useless. In fact, it’s the opposite.
Waiting is worthwhile. It will bring even more than what you expect.
Waiting is meaningful. It will develop you into the person you’re meant to be.
Waiting is fruitful. It will produce lasting qualities in you that will prepare you for what’s coming.
Waiting is necessary. This season isn’t useless. It’s for a purpose greater than you.
And can I just say . . .
OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!