Wednesday, April 30, 2008

the waiting room

You know what it's like whenever you have an appointment of any kind. It doesn't matter if you show up early, on time, or always have to wait. I've spent my fair share of time in doctors' offices, dentist offices, hospitals, waiting for an oil change, appointments on school visits, and other times when I have to wait. You wait for your food at a restaurant after it's ordered; you wait for a ride to pick you up; you wait for the train or subway; you wait for a package in the mail; you wait for an answer to a question; you wait for results from a test; you wait for the phone to ring.

Waiting rooms can be some of the quietest places on earth. Sometimes it's silent in there and you feel strange just coughing or scratching your arm or crossing your legs, because you might disturb the silence that everyone seems to be so awkwardly accustomed to. So you flip through a magazine that is probably from February of 2005 and has been touched by all kinds of hands with germs, or you tap tap tap your fingers on the chair to the annoying Chris Brown song that's in your head because you just heard it 4 times in the car on the way there, or you text anyone and everyone in your address book on your phone just to say hi because you're bored. If you run out of things to do, you balance your checkbook (quietly), reposition yourself in your seat, and twirl your hair (if you're a girl) or clean out your fingernails.

Sometimes waiting rooms are some of the noisiest places on earth. There are babies crying around you, kids throwing temper tantrums, elderly people complaining about how long they have to wait (I don't blame them...they don't have much time!), TV screens with CNN running the latest news (or at my dermatologists' office, a video advertising their own services including everything from laser surgery to breast reduction...which is awkward to watch in a room filled with people), or teenagers with their iPods blasting so loudly that you can hear it across the room. You can hear the conversations between the people behind the desk nonchalantly discussing what they did last weekend, and you can subtly hear the LiteRock radio station playing in the background that is drowned out by everyone who is sharing their entire cell phone conversation with you...including the person on the other end.

...and all you want to hear is your name being called.

And then, sometimes, your name is called, and you're escorted into yet another waiting room. You sit, now in complete solitude, wondering when the door will open next and who it will be and how long until you'll finally be back outside again to breathe in the fresh air smell instead of the oh-so-common waiting room smell.

...all you want are answers.
...or to ask more questions.
...or to find out results.
...or to know what's next.

I find myself so often in the waiting room of life. Sometimes it's quiet around me and I don't want to make a move, afraid that I'll disturb the peaceful sound of life going smoothly. Sometimes I'm bored out of my mind and just want to move on to whatever is next. And in those times it's fairly easy to hear a voice calling my name. Sometimes it's busy and fun and noisy and I find myself adjusting to that...raising the volume of whatever is in my ears with my own speed of life. I rush around from one thing to the next and drive as fast as I can to get somewhere...only to hurry up and wait once more. And in those times, it's usually difficult to hear a voice calling my name.

I've found that being in the waiting room is just a part of following Christ. If I make a move without following His lead, I'll probably regret it. If I wait for His lead, I'll find out that it's all worth the wait. I don't know what I'm waiting for right now, but I feel like I'm in a waiting room. I'm watching, observing, listening, looking, and trying to battle the virtue of patience. I don't know what's next for me in life, but I know no matter what, it will be worth the wait. I know that God's timing is always better for me than my own, and sometimes that's just easier to say to others than to believe for yourself. I'm trying to enjoy this time of see what it reveals, to find out what doors open, to see what relationships will come, to see what heart changes may come, to find out what I'll be doing 5 years from now, to enjoy this time in life. The "twentysomethings" are such a bittersweet time. I love it, yet I hate it, because it always leaves me wondering what's next. But I've always loved surprises, so I'm looking forward to being surprised.

So I'll sit...and I'll wait...
both patiently and impatiently.

But I refuse to miss out on life just because I'm waiting for what's next. So I'm challenging myself to learn to live fully, even as I wait.

Are you waiting for anything? What are you waiting for?

1 comment:

Tara said...

So true girl! I feel like you just wrote down the story of my life! I feel like my life has been in a holding pattern for almost ten years. Watching and waiting expectantly. Seeing life go by and friends move as you still sit and wait. You have to believe that the wait is worth it but at times it's easy to think that you'll just take the next thing that comes along just to be able to stop the waiting. However, it never seems to work out that way. Nice to know that someone else feels the same way I do!