My Word of the Week: Wait


wait – verb \ˈwāt\

: to stay in a place until an expected event happens, until someone arrives, until it is your turn to do something, etc.
: to not do something until something else happens
: to remain in a state in which you expect or hope that something will happen soon


Sunday night, after a three-mile run with Steve, I was standing in the kitchen making a spinach, peach, and banana smoothie. An unexpected feeling swept over me: I don’t have to get up for work tomorrow. Or ever!

I laughed out loud. “I just had the best feeling,” I told Steve.

Not that I won’t be working. Not that I won’t still be setting the alarm. Not that I won’t be driving to meet with clients occasionally. But the feeling I had been waiting for over the past few months, the feeling of relief at quitting my job and becoming a full-time freelancer: finally, I had that feeling.

Then, I got up Monday morning.

It wasn’t actually regret that I felt when I woke up Monday, but as I looked ahead at my week and realized that travel plans for High Calling editorial duties and a visit up north to visit a friend in the nursing home and an extra freelance job I took on when I wasn’t sure what the rest of May would look like, plus doctors appointments and on-site meetings and training next week with another client mean that the casual life of being my own boss and doing whatever I want to do are on hold for at least two more weeks.

So I wait.

Actually, I’m not sure the life I had been waiting for recently is the life I will ever have. I said I want “flexibility,” but I’m not being very flexible. I said money wasn’t the issue, but I still need to earn some. I said I wanted to be my own boss, but I’m afraid of my lack of priorities or organizational skills.

But it’s in the waiting that I have figured those things out. Had I quit my job one day and started my new freelance life the next, I would have messed up a lot of things, maybe even failed. Instead, in the waiting, I had time to discover what it is I really want.

During the wait, God also prepares me for what it is I’m really going to get.

::

I’m not the only one waiting.

At a nursing home about 100 miles north of my home, my friend Marti spends her days going to physical therapy, eating at a table with John in the downstairs dining room, and playing Bingo and other games in the recreation area.

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Marti will be 92 this summer, and though it’s usually not polite to tell a woman’s age, I don’t think she would mind. In fact, just yesterday, as I sat in her new navy blue microfiber lift chair learning about her new life in the nursing home, she told me that it was fun to have lived this long, to be able to tell people that she had made it past 90.

“But it’s also good to know that Jesus is waiting for me when I die,” she said. She thinks that day may come soon. She told me so yesterday just before she nodded off to sleep sitting in her wheelchair. During lunch, her mind had been slow but clear. After the dining room staff wheeled her back to her room, her thoughts became foggy. She asked if I had trouble driving in the snow on the way up, she talked about me in the third person, like I was someone else, and just before I left, she asked where the man from church had gone who had just been standing next to me. No one had been there but me.

I wanted to tell Marti that she wasn’t going to die soon. I wanted to tell her that she has a long life ahead of her, and that life in the nursing home could be really fun. John from the dining room had a great sense of humor, after all.

But I know Marti has been waiting a long time to see Jesus. Her husband Paul died before her several years ago. Her health has declined significantly in the past few years, especially in the past few months, and now, she’s tired. She’s waiting to go home.

So, I told her that I would miss her, that I hoped I would see her again before she went. And when I left, I hugged her really tight, kissed her on the forehead, and told her how much I love her.

:: CONTINUED ON THURSDAY ::

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WORD COUNT: 733

NOTE: I am going to be traveling this week, so my Tuesday and Thursday posts make up part 1 and part 2 of one longish essay. I’ll include a link back here on Thursday so you can start from where you left off. Thanks for reading!

Photo by Mervi Eskelinen, via Flickr, used with permission under the Creative Commons License. Definitions of my word of the week are from Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online.

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Charity Singleton Craig

Charity Singleton Craig is a writer, author, and speaker, helping readers grow in their faith and experience true hope in the middle of life’s joys and sorrows. She is the author of My Year in Words: what I learned from choosing one word a week for one year and coauthor of On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life That Lasts.