Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What Are You Waiting For?

Do you find that you spend a lot of time waiting? Perhaps not consciously, as waiting for a kettle to boil, but unconsciously we are all waiting for one thing or another. For the weekend, for retirement, for graduation, for the birth of a child….the list is endless. We wait in lines to be checked out at the supermarket. We sit in doctors’ and dentists’ offices, waiting for appointments. We wait for the all-important phone call or cheque in the mail. We wait in hope, in fear, in excitement, in expectation of good or bad results.

I recently spent a whole year at home, waiting to be well. I waited for appointments, test results, answers, and new treatments. In hindsight, it feels as if I lost that year. But the reality is that life carried on, even though I was unable to live it the way I would have liked to. And if I did “lose” any time, it was because I lost it by focusing on that thing that was in the future, and not on the things that were taking place in the present.

I am back to work now, and grateful to be there. Yet I find myself falling into the old habit of counting the days till the weekend. I suppose we all do it. We might love our jobs, yet our lives outside of work are more important. That is only natural. But in the meantime, during those five days at work, there is much life to be lived. I don’t want to simply “put in time” at work; I have realized that during that 5 day period, I spend as many waking hours at work as I do at home. That is a big part of my week, and of my life. I want it to count too, not just be something that I endure until my “real” life can resume.

It’s easy to do that, to get caught up in what is yet to be, and to let it overshadow everything else. To allow that one hoped for yet unrealized thing rob you of living in the moment, stealing joy, opportunities, or sleep.

It’s good to have goals, and to save for retirement, plan families, education and careers. But in the meantime, there is so much life to live. Are you waiting for that one thing? Are you hoping that when you retire, graduate or meet that “special someone” that life will be so much more worth living? Don’t wait till then. Live all the life you can right now. Every moment is a gift from God. You see, life is what happens, while we wait.

“I will praise the LORD while I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.” (Psalm 146:2)


Anonymous said...

A photographic negative of Psalm 23:

I’m on my own.
No one looks out for me or protects me.
I experience a continual sense of need.
Nothing’s quite right.
I’m always restless.
I’m easily frustrated and often disappointed.
It’s a jungle — I feel overwhelmed.
It’s a desert — I’m thirsty.
My soul feels broken, twisted, and stuck.
I can’t fix myself.
I stumble down some dark paths.
Still, I insist: I want to do what I want, when I want, how I want.
But life’s confusing.
Why don’t things ever really work out?
I’m haunted by emptiness and futility — shadows of death.
I fear the big hurt and final loss.
Death is waiting for me at the end of every road,
but I’d rather not think about that.
I spend my life protecting myself.
Bad things can happen.
I find no lasting comfort.
I’m alone . . . facing everything that could hurt me.
Are my friends really friends?
Other people use me for their own ends.
I can’t really trust anyone.
No one has my back.
No one is really for me — except me.
And I’m so much all about ME, sometimes it’s sickening.
I belong to no one except myself.
My cup is never quite full enough.
I’m left empty.
Disappointment follows me all the days of my life.
Will I just be obliterated into nothingness?
Will I be alone forever, homeless, free-falling into void?
Sartre said, “Hell is other people.”
I have to add, “Hell is also myself.”
It’s a living death,
and then I die.

But here are the green pastures and still waters we can always run to, by faith, through the finished work of Christ on the cross:

The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me.
Your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil.
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

Kat said...

Maureen, you are such a talented writer!!! I really enjoyed this...and just wanted to let you know that :). Hope you're doing well!

p.s. the photographic negative of Ps. 23 is so interesting! (whoever wrote it :)