Waiting is a bear. Really. Life is a line. Get in it. Don’t try cutting in line. Don’t try to get to the front. Don’t avoid the line. Don’t cause problems because all cutting will do is cause problems for you. Just wait…your turn.
I’ve spent a good part of my life waiting. One of my earliest recollections of waiting in line is when I was in fifth grade. In the 70s, America was dealing with an energy crisis, and the government instructed citizens to turn the heat down in their homes, turn lights off when rooms were empty, and to drive shorter distances. One of the things I remember most about those days, besides freezing and starving, was the long lines of cars snaking out of the gas stations and down the road, sometimes for miles. As we sat there in our cars, with the engines running, of course, we crept forward car by car getting our allotted seven dollars’ worth of gas because stations tried to control the amount of gas that they had on hand. Someone made a rule that the attendants could not top off gas tanks lest one driver should get twenty-five cents more gas than another driver.
My next strong recollection comes from my first day as a college student at Baptist Bible College (now Summit University soon to be Clarks Summit University). I stood in the registration line for four hours, weaving through rooms and passing tables, signing documents, turning in information, getting a student ID, and the last stop…the financial aid desk, where I received my bill for vast amount of money that was so unfathomable to my innocent mind that it has long since left my memory.
The next line immediately following was the line to the Cafetorium, a fancy name for a room that was the cafeteria and the auditorium. Clever and classy. With the aroma of high carb institutional food wafting across the room to where I stood in that line, an epiphany occurred in my eighteen year old mind. Life is a line. Get in line and wait your turn.
Those lessons have paid off in a big way for me. Three of my four children were overdue at the time of birth. One was seventeen days late. Wait and wait and wait. The full moon came and went. Nothing happened. So, I waited some more.
In the years following, my husband and I waited in lines at the amusement parks, on the bridges, getting out of the Outer Banks on the weekend, getting into Ocean City, NJ in the summer, driving up the turnpike to NYC, standing in the check-out line behind the woman with three hundred coupons. Always waiting in line.
Then came the biggest wait of my life. Is it cancer? What kind of cancer? Is there a cure? Will the surgery be successful? Will he eat again? Will he speak again? Will he preach again? Wait, wait, wait.
Now, here I am again. This time it’s the news of one of my children. Wait, wait, wait.
But along with all the waiting comes a lot of praying and trusting. My husband once preached a message called “God’s Waiting Room.” During these times of waiting, I grow stronger, not just emotionally but spiritually. At least I should. As I wait, I have time to think and sometimes as I think, I become full of anxiety. I think about the frailty of life and what a gift each day is. But I should be thinking about One who authors the book of my life and how He controls the events that occur. I may not like the outcomes, but I find it comforting to know that while I am waiting with no control over what is happening with insurance companies, blood tests, PET scans, transfusions, surgeries, and other events, Someone is in control and does what is always right and good.