HOW DO YOU WAIT?
What do you do while you wait for a doctor to see you, for the person ahead of you at the grocery store, for the pharmacist to fill your prescription, or for the stalled traffic on your way home?
Do you sit and steam because it is now 35 minutes past your appointment for which you left early so you would be on time?
Do you shift from one foot to the other as the person or persons ahead of you in line seem to have all the time in the world?
Do you drum your fingers on the steering wheel and say unkind things to whomever is keeping you from moving?
I could have said yes to all these questions at one time, and as I waited anger would build and I would think of all the things I could be doing. Whether or not I would actually be doing those things is doubtful.
The only way to eliminate the waiting is to leave: not to keep your appointment, walk away and not get what you need, or get out of the car and walk. All of these solutions would have consequences.
Through the years I’ve learned that waiting can be fun and restful.
Arriving on time at the dentist today for my eleven o’clock appointment, I discovered he was at least a half hour behind. I’d planned to buy gas after my appointment, so I went to do that. I returned and in a few minutes I was seated in the examining room. After five to ten minutes, I realized I was in for a long wait. What should I do? I’d not brought a crossword puzzle or a book.
Relaxation is always good for the body. I began with head and neck stretches; I sat back in the chair so my head was on the headrest, my arms on the armrests, my legs stretched out in front of me, I closed my eyes, and began quiet deep breathing. I’ve been known to fall asleep in the dentist’s chair or lying on the doctor’s examining table. Time passes.
After fifteen or twenty minutes today, I felt rested. I began thinking about what I needed to for my writing. I’ve wanted to post a blog for several days, but no topic seemed to blossom in my brain. Now it did. I pulled a little notebook and pen from my purse. This is result.
If you are a writer, the grocery or pharmacy can become character food. One day while I was next in line, I watched a woman in a wheelchair cart with less than twelve items, which someone had already put on counter. That should be quick, right? It must have ten minutes as she told the very patient clerk into which paper bag each item should go, then to put the paper bags inside plastic bags. Then the clerk went around the counter to put them in her cart. I’m sure those minutes hold a story. Meanwhile, I discouraged out persons from standing behind me in the short line. The next cash register line was moving quickly.
In the car, you can catch up on the news with an NPR station, or listen to the music with more intention. While the music plays on my radio when I am driving, I only half listen. Stopped I can concentrate on what I’m hearing.
Wherever you are waiting you have time to pray. Pray for ones you know. Pray for the hungry and the homeless. Pray for the sick and lonely. Pray for all those you know and those you don’t. Pray for this world torn apart in so many, many ways.
Waiting will no longer be an annoyance, but an opportunity.