Remember the days before iTunes when you waited and waited by the stereo for your favorite song to come on the radio, and when it did, it was such a great moment?
Life is a lot like waiting for that song to play.
I can’t say I’ve ever been fond of waiting long periods of time for things to happen. I’m sure there are reasons I could try to cite as blame for this, but the bottom line is that sometimes I’m simply impatient.
Because, like math, waiting is hard.
One thing I’ve learned, though, is that some things truly are worth waiting for because they make your heart feel bliss that you can’t necessarily explain. But it’s not always easy to remember that when you’re in the waiting period.
Cue an actual waiting room.
My sister-in-law went into labor Friday morning, and I left work early that afternoon to go be with my family at the hospital and await the arrival of my precious niece. (Seriously, she is adorable.) We all tried to make predictions of when she would be born, but we were way off—predicting when babies will be born when you have no expertise is like trying to guess what time it’s going to start raining when you don’t even know how to read a radar.
So we did a lot of waiting on Friday. It was the good kind of waiting—the kind for which you know what the outcome will be (like meeting your niece and becoming an aunt), and it’s an exciting time when your heart grows with joy more and more each moment. The impatience is still there, but when what you’ve been waiting for finally happens, you simply don’t care. What you waited for was worth every single second.
I held my niece in my arms, and I remembered nothing about the hours spent wondering when she would finally get here. She was here, and she is beyond beautiful. Olivia Kate is worth every single second of waiting.
The next day, I had to wait again for something else I love dearly: froyo. I stopped at my favorite frozen yogurt place before going to hang out with my niece on her second day of being a little human, and my patience was tested. The place opens at 11, and when I went inside at 11:02 or so, the manager said there was some situation and that it would be a few minutes before they were ready. I asked how long it would be (usually when people say “a few” they don’t actually mean three), and he said it would be at least 10 minutes if I was willing to wait.
Sir, for froyo, I’m willing.
I sat at a table and waited for what seemed like way more than 10 minutes (because the waiting period pretty much always feels like an eternity), and then homeboy finally handed me some sample cups and said everything was ready. This is the best froyo in all of the land, but there was an added bonus: I got a discount for waiting. The manager said that, because of my patience, I could have the employee discount—50 percent off! It’s possible this ever so briefly made me consider working there solely for the discount. That froyo was worth every single second of waiting.
I had no idea I would get that discount, but it sure was a welcomed surprise. There are times when we are waiting but don’t know what exactly we’re waiting for, because the outcome isn’t known. I think that’s one of the most challenging kinds of patience to have—the one when you’re waiting for something that isn’t a complete certainty.
Sometimes we have to wait on people who may or may not already be in our lives. We wait with hearts full of questions, and we wait on answers. We wait with hope. We wait with frustration. We wait with emotions we never expected. We wait with pain. We wait with anticipation. We wait with uncertainty. We wait with passion. We wait with fear. We wait with confusion.
But we wait with the belief that whatever (or whomever) we’re waiting for will be worth every single second of waiting.
It’s difficult at times to trust God’s plan, and it’s not easy to hear people tell you to do so over and over again, even if it is the way to go. I try to remind myself of Hebrews 10:36, which starts with, “Patient endurance is what you need now,” because the concept of endurance makes me think of running a race and the feeling you get when you finally cross the finish line. Just like enduring all that comes with racing, we have to endure all that comes with waiting—though that whole “patient” adjective is a true struggle.
I think that, even as adults, it’s challenging to escape from some of our childlike behaviors. Waiting is so difficult when you’re a little kid (think Christmas Eve), and you just want whatever you want to happen to happen when you want it to happen. But that’s not how life works, and I’m not sure we ever get completely used to that. It’s important to learn how to wait, though, when that’s the last thing you want to do.
Because oftentimes whatever you’re waiting for will be worth every single second of that patient endurance.