Waiting is hard. It requires a set of skills I’d rather not cultivate. I’m not talking about the kind of waiting that comes with a timetable, but the real kind. The yearning kind. It is inconvenient to wait for a plane that is running late, it is uncomfortable to wait in traffic, but those aren’t the kind of waits that cause me trouble. It’s the real life waiting I struggle with.
waiting for a relationship to be restored
waiting for a new opportunity
waiting for healing and health
waiting for renewal and new life
I struggle to even name to the things I long for. I focus instead on being happy with the things I already have. This is not wasted, but it does not address my deepest desires. In my heart of hearts there are things I want to be different. When I give name to these things, I acknowledge the wanting and this makes me vulnerable. Telling the truth, even to myself can be an act of courage. Once this want is named, it begins to take on a life of its own.
When waiting doesn’t come with a timetable, and outcomes are not assured I tend to one of two extremes. On the one hand, I try to control the outcome and make it happen. Usually to little effect. On the other hand, I tend toward denial. If I don’t know if it will ever happen, I will just be happy… okay… fine… without it. Both of these ways of being speak to my own sense of control, my own self sufficiency. Longings that rely on waiting and hope must lean against something outside of myself, and that is hard.
I am learning to value a creative waiting in these moments. The ability to hold space for possibility. In the time between the wanting and the getting there are lots of ways to fill in the space. But I want to hold it tenderly and let hope linger in the emptiness. Hope will fill in the hollow, but I need to hold space. I need to let the wanting ache be, to allow myself to yearn for what is not yet. I must hold it open, so that there is room for the thing I hope to grow, to be nurtured, and to find life. Waiting then becomes an act of creativity.
What are you holding space for today?