Productive Waiting

IMG_1787 2There was once a time when we waited. We endured and persevered because of its raw necessity. We were obliged to live in-between events whether or not they were pleasurable. We put on hold pressing matters in order to seek the company of a friend, and that was a sacrifice. We had to say goodbye and understand that time must expire before we would see their faces once again and enjoy the blessing of their smile and touch. To feel their presence. And we endured that time. We endured expectantly. We eagerly waited on letters for weeks, months, or sometimes in vain forever. We exercised patience and experienced the tension of expectation–not because it was easy, or natural, but because we had to. We had to cultivate waiting.IMG_1567

Expectancy magnifies the enjoyment of the occasion because it’s bittersweet. We realize the magnitude of a blessing because we endure its absence. When there’s no waiting the occasion is easily gained, and unless we’re careful, not fully valued. A bride and groom enjoy the occasion of their wedding night in part because they endure and grow during the time of waiting, the time of expectation. It is the meaning of “The journey, not the destination…”. The meaning of the destination is best realized when one endures the journey. That is why spoiled children do not enjoy simple gifts. That is why we cannot enjoy the simple presence of life, but constantly demand the extraction of experience. This explains so much of our world of commerce, social media, the ruse that we call relationship, the insatiable hunger for more.

Now we wait for nothing and despise the time we must wait. Sending and demanding messages instantaneously, we require satisfaction and dislike the strange tension that expectation brings. We sit falsely among each other, fingers desperately reaching for our phones: “Will someone text me? Do I have a notification? What if I miss a tweet?” This is not merely an annoying generational trend of immaturity, this is evidence of deep, profound poverty of spirit. The push is to go from one elated experience to another avoiding at all cost time in-between.

The perspective that refuses to cultivate and wait for anything is deadly. When we live in that perspective we are robbed of extraordinary joy. Intimacy? Friendship? Wealth? Who has time to wait for these? There is no time, I must grasp what I can with what little time I have. The Christian life is one of expectation. We live in a reality but we wait expectantly for that day of harmony, that day of infinite consumation. We yearn and long to see it, to know it, to live it. But we must wait. The in-betweens of life are as valuable as the moments they separate. They provide space for perspective and offer time for reflection. Keep on waiting, my friends.

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