Waiting is seldom pleasant. In a world where many services are instant, waiting can be quite annoying — a symptom of inefficiency, a system error, or even problematic management.
Whenever the Internet connection slows down in our house, Edric and I feel irritated. We talk about switching providers and complain about how awful our current one is. When a Mc Donald’s drive through experience takes longer than 5 minutes, we think about it as a big inconvenience.
Why? Well, unfortunately, we are being conditioned to expect expediency because of the nature of the times we live in…almost like it’s a human right we are entitled to.
I say this is unfortunate because the reality is, not everything can be rushed or quickened to our convenience. In fact, some of the best things require a period of waiting…a beach sunset on a clear day, homemade chocolate chip cookies baking in an oven (yum, I will make some later), a promotion that you’ve worked hard for, a husband who will love you faithfully for the rest of your life, your child’s first steps and first words, building your dream home…
We can’t always live in fast-forward. Imagine what it would be like if we could press a remote control button and skip through all the parts we didn’t like?
“Hon, I’m tired of the baby stage. It’s getting really annoying. Let’s go to scene selection and fast forward all the kids to 12 years old.”
That would be freaky! We wouldn’t even recognize them. And worst of all, they would be 12 year olds acting like babies. I wouldn’t want to clean the poopy diaper of a 12 year old! That would be a nightmarish mess of a bomb to contend with.
It sounds crazy. But the reality is, sometimes I am guilty of wanting to get out of and get past the difficult stages and phases that marriage or parenting go through, or even the days, weeks, months or years required for a dream to come to fruition. I want the greener pasture NOW without having to wait.
When I was newly married, Edric and I sold our second car to save on expenses and we shared one car between us. We rode with one another to work and back. It was an adjustment for both of us. As singles, we had our own cars. A part of me was like, why do we have to downscale our lifestyle and inconvenience ourselves? I wonder how long we will have to struggle financially? When is it going to get better?
I didn’t like having to wait to be picked up when Edric was driving or to wait for Edric to come out of his office when I was driving. On certain days, I would have to circle around and around Ayala Tower 1, or park and visit Starbucks by myself until he came down from his Ayala Land office. It was spoiled of me to act this way and feel sorry for myself. God was working on my character, teaching me to count my blessings and be thankful that we even had a car! We managed to survive with one car for several years.
When we finally got another car, it was exciting. The liberty. The flexibility. And the irony is I began to feel sad when I realized we didn’t have to ride together anymore. The “forced bonding” we had when sharing one car allowed us to have many wonderful conversations while enduring the traffic between Pasig and Makati. Our one car predicament had been good for our marriage. We grew closer as a couple. It improved our communication and deepened our friendship. With two cars, it wasn’t the same. So whenever I could, I would find a way to ride with Edric and leave the other car at home just so I could be with him. (I still do that whenever we can even it means having to adjust my schedule to his.)
It’s interesting that life experiences can be like that. We are so eager to get away from hardship. But when circumstances do change, we discover, in hindsight, the gifts that were hidden, the blessings that WAITING ripened and cultivated for our greater good – a beautiful truth about God, ourselves, others, or the human experience; a deeper connectedness and appreciation for those we love; or the satisfying answer to the question of purpose and reason.
Well, I shouldn’t presume to speak for everyone so I will speak for myself. Waiting is so much a part of my marriage and parenting experience. But the key is to contentedly accept God’s plan for me right here, right now, and cooperate with him because the waiting is intentional on his part, to produce Christ-like character in me.
For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him! (Isaiah 64:4 NLT)
Right now, I am waiting for the next 18 weeks to pass until my due date. If I could have it my way, I would want to speed it up a little and by-pass the discomfort and awkward body stage. I’m beginning to look more and more like an egg. But what I really feel badly about is not being able to run anymore. The round ligament pain around the lower part of my abdomen has really inhibited me. I’ve tried to “push it” but it’s an arresting kind of pain. So I have to slow down and watch Edric run off into the distance. Bye-bye. The best I can do as an egg is fast-paced walking to catch up with him at home.
Some women can still run at this stage. They can run all the way until their 8th or 9th month! And it’s humbling to come to terms with my physical limitations because I enjoy being active and fit. During my previous pregnancies, I was playing badminton until 7 months. It’s probably the age that has made the biggest difference between then and now.
But like I said, waiting is an inescapable part of life, especially as a wife and mother. Therefore, I must embrace the realities of my 5th pregnancy and not compare myself with my former self or others.
There will always be areas outside of my control that must be accepted with gratitude and cheerfulness. Sometimes, it is about waiting for God to work in Edric’s heart; or it is waiting for my children to respond to my daily training; to grasp what I am teaching them; their personalities to emerge and their character to grow; or the addition of a new baby to our expanding brood; and other times it is about waiting for God’s provision, a prayer request to be answered, or his will in an area of my life. Yet, personally, I believe that waiting is most profitable as a preparation for the eternal experience of heaven.
Waiting conditions the heart to long for what the world, people and dreams cannot fully satisfy — the end of all sorrows and the beginning of unending joy in the presence of God.
For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit. So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. For we live by believing and not by seeing. (2 Corinthians 5:1-7 NLT)