What I'm Learning about Waiting

This summer has been a season of waiting for me. Waiting all summer for my big, exciting road trip. Waiting for my job to evolve to the next stage, the one where my hours and responsibilities grow and my bank account (thankfully) does the same. Waiting to move into a new home with a new roommate in a new part of town. Waiting to launch a website that has been months in the remaking and redesigning. Waiting for the actual seasons to change so the heat and humidity would be left behind.

This past year has been an even longer season of waiting for me, too. Waiting to figure out which city to call home-- a new one, or this one here by the river? Waiting to meet somebody to be my person. Waiting for the community that challenges me, loves me, and becomes my people. Waiting for clarity. Waiting for discernment. Waiting for direction.

Sometimes it can be hard to define waiting. It can be hard to know if we are just ignoring, or if we  aren't ready, or if it's already in front of us but we just haven't realized it yet. But waiting, according to the dictionary, is "the action of staying where one is or delaying action until a particular time or until something else happens."

Waiting is an action.

I picked up a book that had long been on my shelves, one written by an author of fiction that I love, and just fourteen pages in, I was met with this passage that struck me:

Waiting is both passive and passionate. It’s a vibrant, contemplative work. It means descending into self, into God, into the deeper labyrinths of prayer. It involves listening to disinherited voices within, facing the wounded holes in the soul, the denied and undiscovered, the places one lives falsely. It means struggling with the vision of who we really are in God and molding the courage to live that vision.
— Sue Monk Kidd, in "When the Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction for Life's Sacred Questions"

I couldn't have written a more accurate passage to bring waiting to life.

Waiting is hard and it can be heavy. It can feel hopeless at times and hopeful at others. It's full of longing and learning. It's a time of cultivation and creation. It is full of so much searching and seeking and learning how to stay, to be still, to speak and to be silent too.

I am not any less because I am waiting. The things that I am waiting for will surely add goodness and richness and beauty to my life, but my life is not bad or poor or ugly right now.

My life right now is good, even though I'm waiting.

My heart right now is full, even though it is still longing for things yet to be.

My identity is confident and sure, even though roles might change and relationships will come and go.

Sue Monk Kidd also talked about how the imagery of cocoons and butterflies resonated with her during her own season of waiting, and I love what she says here about cocoons:

I asked myself what would happen if I could learn the spiritual art of cocooning. Might I discover a stilling of the soul that invites God and a new recreation of life? Would I see that the waiting, with all its quiet passion and hidden fire, is the real crucible of spiritual transformation? Would the posture of the cocoon allow me a way to shed old, embedded patterns of living and move into a more genuine humanity where the authentic self breaks through?
— Sue Monk Kidd, in "When the Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction for Life's Sacred Questions"

I'm learning that waiting is both active and passive, that it's necessary even in the ways that it is hard, that it is worthwhile to enter into it fully and wholly and openly.

Only after seasons of waiting can new fruit come forth.

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