Waiting, But Not for Godot…..

How much of our lives is spent “waiting?” In the book, “Birds Art Life” by Kyo Maclear, she defines the act of waiting quite clearly, if not definitively (for waiting is nothing if not endless), in this passage:
“Waiting for a late friend. Waiting in line at the movies.
Waiting for the phone to ring. Waiting for the mail.
Waiting at the checkout counter. Waiting in traffic.
Waiting for the train. Waiting for the plane. Waiting in
a darkened theatre. Waiting in a foreign country.
Waiting to give birth. Waiting for sluggish minors.
Waiting for elderly parents. Waiting for something to
go wrong. Waiting at the doctor’s office. The waiting of
chronic illness. Eroded public services waiting. Wait-
ing for the Messiah. Waitlist waiting. The hoping and
waiting, the waiting and hoping. The waiting of
childhood. The waiting to grow up. The waiting of old
age. Waiting to recover. Waiting for another stroke.
Waiting for the body to let go. Waiting for inspiration.
Letting-the-field-lie-fallow waiting. The thinking-of-nothing-
and thinking-of-everything
waiting. Waiting just as the storm
ends. Waiting for the sun.”
And then of course, there is Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” quote: “Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it’s awful”.
Waiting by my definition is being in limbo, a time and space in which there is no beginning or end, until, of course, it is over. Then we wait on something else. I used to be the late friend that people had to wait for, which is ironic because I normally do not like to be a bother. And a “late” friend is a bother. I have amended my ways, and try not to be late. That does not mean I am not late sometimes, but I put forth the effort now not to be late.
Some of the more interesting and more innocent synonyms for “waiting” are: for the future, in the offing, pausing, expecting, anticipating, and awaiting (which seems gentler than waiting). But waiting has its annoying side, as found in these synonyms: put off, wait on, lingering, stopping, postposing, and worst of all–delaying. I find that the term “delaying the inevitable” never has a positive connotation—why does it seem that the inevitable is never good?
Waiting for many (myself included) is annoying. But as evidenced above in Maclear’s little rant on the page, it is a big part of our lives. Much of life entails waiting—so I suppose we could live little “mini” lives in the waiting periods. Because if we don’t, there is a lot of wasted time. And depending on what you are waiting for (a diagnosis, recovery, the Messiah) you will be doing a lot of thumb twirling.
Right now, many of us are waiting for spring, and in doing so, not really enjoying what winter has to offer. We are in the “letting-the-field-lie-fallow” stage, so let us enjoy it. I do not like bitter cold, or having to don my boots whenever I go out, but there are many things I love about winter. I love the snow and how it transforms our landscape into a winter wonderland; I love snowmen and women with their carrot noses, jaunty caps, and scarves. And who doesn’t find discarded branches as arms on these makeshift harbingers of jolly, charming? When I do venture out on a dark and stormy night, I feel brave, as if I have accomplished something. And you have to admit that being warm and cozy inside is one of the best feelings—add a cup of cocoa and a book, and I for one, am in heaven.
I do not particularly care for waiting in any kind of line, but when you finally make it to the front of the line, it is as if you have earned a gold medal in patience. I particularly do not like waiting on the end of a phone line—when there are 493 in line ahead of me, or so that robotic nonhuman voice tells me, between messages of “thank you for waiting”. Now that I find beyond irritating, but sometimes you have to hang in there because it is the only way to get through. Thank goodness for computers—many times we can go online and forego the incessant wait for the “next available customer service representative”.
Sometimes, if we are so disposed, we can look at waiting as a “mini-vacation” or a little time to ourselves, when we can meditate, breathe deeply, and give in to the fact that some things are just beyond our control. Other times, waiting seems interminable, but alas, it is part of life.

Published in: on January 16, 2018 at 3:50 pm  Comments (7)  

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Love this post. From now on I will enjoy my mini life, and waiting is now replaced with “in the offing”.

  2. So very true . I love your thought that we should regard waiting as a moment to ourselves. Much waiting can fit in there. Waiting for hospital appointments/letters/results are in a different category of waiting and demand another level of patience.
    Lovely to have your writing back in my inbox. 🙂

  3. From the moment we are born we are waiting for stuff, or maybe that should be from the moment we are created we are waiting to be formed, to be born and then everything else that comes after birth

  4. How about the Kinks’ Tired of Waiting song?

  5. Sometimes patience is easier for certain reasons of waiting, than for others, and I guess they’re different for all of us. But you’re right we actually do a lot of waiting in our daily lives….
    (I love those voice mail messages while you’re waiting on the phone for the next available representative… They try to vary the message depending on how long you wait about how important your call is etc etc… but when you hear them for about 15-20 minutes, it does wear thin.) Diane

  6. thanks for the great reminder, LouAnn.

  7. I can always wait cause I love the in between times.


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