I stood in line at a clothing store inside the mall, juggling my winter coat, my purse, my bag from previous shopping, and an armload of sweaters. ‘Twas the season and there were sales. As with any Christmas shopping expedition, there were lines, and there was waiting.
As I neared the counter, I caught the eye of one of the salespeople and said, “Is it possible to lay these down somewhere? It’s not the WAIT that’s the problem, it’s the WEIGHT!”
Today, I see a closer connection between the two waits/weights.
As a Kindergarten teacher, every September I watch children learn the rules of social behavior. Share, let others talk, use manners, and wait. Wait your turn in a game. Wait for the last one to line up. Wait for the teacher to answer your question. Wait to get your snack opened. Wait for a late school bus. Wait.
Waiting can be hard, and people have varying degrees of patience for it. I do okay. I don’t mind waiting in line, especially if I have a book on my phone that I can read!
As we continue to live through the pandemic, we experience a lot of waiting. Now we wait outside before we can even enter the store! We’re not used to waiting weeks for packages when Amazon Prime used to promise one-day shipping. We wait for things to reopen. We wait to be able to go on with our lives. We wait.
And, again, I’m okay with that. I understand that we need to be cautious. We don’t want to open things too quickly and have a surge of new coronavirus patients because of our impatience. However, I do find there’s a weight to the wait. It’s getting heavier.
When the black tarp was on our condo pool, I had lots of patience. I could wait. When the cover came off and chemicals were added, the result was a shimmering, inviting oasis. The wait/weight got heavier.
One morning I looked out and there were chairs set up around the edges of the pool! Maybe it would open soon. It didn’t. An email confirmed its continued closure. The weight made me sweat as I looked down during heatwave after heatwave to a refreshing break from the heat, which might as well have had a sign reading, “Look, but don’t touch.”
Our barbeques are off limits too. I do like my indoor G-F grill, but seriously, the flavor is not even close! I’ve been patient. I will accept any invitations to drive across town to let you socially-distance-barbeque my beef!
Today, as hubby and I went for a little walk of the condo grounds, we noticed the yellow caution tape had been taken off the gazebo surrounding the barbeques. The superintendent was walking away, as I called out excitedly, “Are they open? Are the barbeques open?”
There was a little skip in his step too as he replied, “Tomorrow!”
Tomorrow? But the tape is off NOW! TODAY! The weight of the wait nearly flattened me.
These are silly examples, of course, but my point is that waiting is sometimes harder, depending on the circumstances. We have friends who are waiting for their son to fully recover from a motorcycle accident. An email from them recently suggested that their son is suffering from the weight of the wait now, more than the physical struggle.
Some people wait to see if they will have employment when the economy fully opens. Others wait to visit loved ones to whom they still have no access. Some wait to hold a grandbaby or a niece or nephew. We all wait for a vaccine. We wait.
The weight of waiting is what causes anxiety and worry. It can cause us to turn to substance abuse or other forms of self-harm. It can lead to depression or suicidal thoughts.
But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.Isaiah 40:31
The song based on this verse continues with the line, “Teach me, Lord. Teach me, Lord, to wait.”
The New International Version says those who “hope in the Lord…” while other versions such as the New Living Translation say those who “trust in the Lord…” If you hope and trust in the Lord, the wait will be bearable. We hope and trust that God will take care of things. He’s in control.
We may not understand the wait, and we may buckle under the weight, but He is the Director. He sees the whole picture.
He’s got this.
Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.Psalm 22:20
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.Psalm 56:3
And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.Psalm 9:10