Waiting is a learned skill. It may be practiced at any time or place and is considered one of the pre-eminent skills to have in your repertoire.
Bus stops come to mind right away when I contemplate waiting. I walked to school until age 12 when my family moved and I had to take the bus to school, which was clear across town. Walking to the bus stop was okay, but standing in the rain and coordinating the umbrella, boots, books and lunch was always a feat extraordinaire and for some reason no one had thought of backpacks – yet!
When I lived in Cleveland, I took a city bus to everything, even the train to downtown, and I learned the lesson of wind chill factors and frost bite. In college I took the bus several times to get home, which was a several day journey involving transfers and passes, drunken riders and waiting. The words bus stop and waiting go hand in hand for me and they are both less than desirable experiences.
I now attempt to have nearly every tool I can possible have at my disposal before I anticipate waiting for anything. Pen, paper, notebooks, books, DS player, and my laptop accompany nearly everywhere I go whenever I leave the house.
I plan every minute I think I will have available to me… and then a few extra or greet another person who is also waiting and attempt to have a small conversation. I can even do short deep breathing and relaxation exercises – quietly and not disturb anyone and then remember great writing ideas if they pop into my conscientiousness.
Waiting is a learned skill. My father was a formidable teacher in this area. Leaving my mother, my siblings and me to fend for hours on our own (often in the lounges of parking garages in big cities) because he thought his meeting would be over about noon; he did not appear until four hours later. Someone always had a problem to be solved or just needed his expertise on one more thing.
My school of waiting was the school of timelessness and my mother’s diligent preparations. We read signs and answered math questions that she thought up and I found every church library in a hurry. We had no cell phones to re-coordinate the plans.
Waiting is an active experience – not a passive one. Children must be taught, although with every skill some master it quickly and others need more direction.
We live in kind of a JELLO time zone. Instant gratification and immediate results seem so important. Why information is just pouring out onto the Internet at a truly staggering pace. Why must we wait for anything?
We need to learn to wait because the best things come to those who wait? Well maybe in a sense. We need to learn to wait to understand time. We need to learn to wait to allow our brain to gather the entire spectrum it needs to integrate ideas into an overview. We need to learn to wait to help us mull and grow into a new creation – it is the cycle of all of life.
We are in a season of waiting. Waiting for the old year to end and a new to begin, waiting for the darkness to recede and the days to grow longer, waiting for the leaders to figure out the problems and help us understand and we are waiting to discover the new self that is germinating within us.
We know if we wait long enough the days will grow in length and the light will return and new vision will sprout forth. In our frenzied atmosphere it seems to me that we are cheating our children out of the lessons of waiting. I must ask myself what is it I truly want – a quickie, slow cooking or aged to perfection? I do recognize there is a choice.
What do you think is the goal of waiting? How do we teach our children to wait?
How do you wait? And what is your best method of integrating ideas?
What does an aged to perfection life look like to you?