I watched the kids swim while I sat in my wheelchair behind the glass in the lounge area waiting…
The kids had wheeled me into the recreation center and then proceeded to dart to the pool area like it was Disneyland, squealing with delight at the prospect of swimming for FUN on a SCHOOL night for my son’s 9th birthday. I just had to be there with my precious boy on his birthday. I needed to be a part of this, of something other than lamenting my pain and my restrictions at home. I’ve been stuck in a leg cast for eight weeks, and today was the day of liberation from that cast…only to find a new heavier brace on my leg to lug around for another month. As my leg throbbed from the transitional pull and push into something new and harsh and heavy, I found once again, that dreaded word.
I had to pee. I always have to pee. This is not a good thing when you are unable to use one leg. It means all kinds of trouble. It implies the ever-present need must be met often…and the met part is not easy. I was stuck in my wheelchair waiting, while the kids were soaked in the flow of water and joy.
My husband had dropped us all off, and went on his way downtown to work on a property for a few hours. I sat and watched my kids have a glorious time together in the pool, thinking how wonderful it was they were enjoying each other so beautifully- a celebration of siblings on such a significant day. Oh, how I loved to see this. I felt my foot and ankle throbbing, so I kept pulling it up on the ledge of the window, with hopes to alleviate the pain. No such luck. I was hoping my husband would show up soon, so he could wheel me down the hallway and help me into the bathroom.
By the time he got there and I filled him in on the fun they’d been having, the pool was closing and it was time to go. He left me once again, to go get the kids and supervise the showers and changing-
While I waited some more.
When we finally arrived home to have our cookie cake and wrap up the day, I sighed and murmured-
“I have been waiting to go to the bathroom all night.”
I hoisted myself onto the scooter and slowly clunked my way hitting doorways and hallway walls to get to the bathroom.
As I passed my chlorine soaked birthday boy, he said,
“Mom, you’re really getting good at waiting.”
And it hit me.
I have been challenged in countless ways during this season of healing, and yet the greatest obstacle of all has been the waiting.
Waiting, waiting, waiting…
Waiting to heal. Waiting to sleep. Waiting to eat. Waiting to clean. Waiting to pee. Waiting to bathe. Waiting for laundry. Waiting for rides. Waiting to be an active mother again, and a true participant in life. Waiting for the pain to stop along with this excruciating dependence for everything. Waiting for things I cannot control…
So much waiting.
And apparently, I have gotten better at it.
I kept thinking about what my sweet boy said to me, and I began to follow the waiting trail back for weeks, then months, then years. I traced the waiting through dreams holding their breath, and love’s lingering hope. I recounted the many times I waited to hear back from music studios, job interviews, applications, submissions, schools, insurance settlements, doctors, lab tests and diagnoses. I think about those longer waits, lasting years. Those seasons of wondering and hoping for what’s to come, time periods of wishing things would change, days upon days of searching for the right man, the right home, the right medicine to make my daughter well.
I thought about parenting my two kids and how every single day is about waiting: leading and waiting, watching and waiting, teaching and waiting, hoping and praying anxiously that they ‘arrive’ where I want them to be- both figuratively and literally. Waiting through all those long gaps of time they are away from me, praying they are okay. Waiting for one stage to be over and a new one to begin. Waiting for them to poop, to get their shoes on, to respond when I call them, and get their chores done.
Apparently, SO much of my life lives in waiting.
And I am betting yours does too.
It ain’t easy, is it? I know.
Waiting is a part of our every day, down to the detailed grit of over-crowded stores, traffic delays, phone calls on hold, school pick up lines and loading those apps.
I wonder how much time I have spent waiting in my 48 years of living. I wonder if I did anything worthwhile with all that time.
I’m hoping I did.
Because if I just ruminated on ‘what ifs’ or ‘when wills’ or ‘come ONs’… I’m not sure I can say that I have had a productive waiting career.
I’m thinking I wasted a lot of time stewing on those very things.
But waiting can be where our greatest growth occurs.
Think about it.
I realize that time in the stuck: wondering, questioning, worrying, wishing, hoping, may actually bring new strength we never knew we had. That angst and anticipation, that frustration and surrendering, that ongoing challenge of acceptance and peace in the *now* can surely result in something great-
Like endurance, perseverance, maturity, wisdom, and learning the art of being fulfilled without being full or filled. It can teach us how to trust in God’s will, and not ours. It can plunge us deep into surrender and reveal to us a new layer of fortification, sanctification, and even transformation.
But it can be wrapped around other hard barbed wire that makes it sting, instead of sustain.
Bitterness, comparison, jealousy, discouragement, defeat, despair, frustration, anger, hopelessness…
Been there. And if you must wait long… It’s. Tough. To. Take.
Perhaps practice makes perfect. If we really dig in and open our eyes to discover the opportunities while we wait, maybe we can look back once we’re done waiting, and see the glaring possibility that the waiting was meant to be- for something.
Though there are bridges that seem to endlessly take us nowhere… we may in fact realize that the bridge itself is our training ground that isn’t measured by the miles across, but by the strength of it’s architecture.
The bridge itself can be quite beautiful, if we build it and deliberately design its presence. It could actually be exquisite. Maybe even better than what we dreamed was on the other side. Within endurance and perseverance, we can discover extraordinary life lessons.
All I can say for sure is that I’ve gotten ‘better at waiting’.
Instead of declaring, “It was worth the wait!” We were able to claim,
“It was a worthy wait.”
I’d like to try to make that happen. How about you?
I think people are too busy. During the wait it might be a good time to rest and reflect. Maybe just clear your mind and breath deep.
I love you. I have done some resting and reflecting- and I have found that I have the BEST husband I could ever ask for, in you. YOU have helped me wait. I couldn’t do this without you. You have risen to the call of serving me, and your endurance has stood the test of time. I fall in love all over again with you, every day. <3
You know when you read something at just the moment you need to read it? That was this post for me today. Have been doing a lot of waiting myself these days, for various reasons, for various things. I found myself recently whining about how hard “limbo” is, because let’s be real, it is. However, at the end of the day, waiting has taught me to be be more patient. It has taught me to do a better job of being more “whatever” about things, which is definitely WAY out of my comfort zone. It has actually made me better.
Anyway, I absolutely LOVE this post my friend. I mean, of course, I don’t love the fact that you had to pee for a million hours, because that is awful, but the words here were just what I needed today. Thank you.
And hang in there with the heavy boot…it will get easier, I promise!
And happy birthday to your sweet boy!
And finally, I will wrap this novel up by saying, you rock! :)-Ashley
I LOVE that you came over to read this, and that it resonated with you Ashley!! We can do this ‘waiting thing’… we can. And while we wait, we may actually find new things we wouldn’t have discovered had we NOT had to wait. 🙂 I love what it has taught you. And me too. (I still don’t like it, but growth is never easy or fun.)
Lisa @ The Meaning of Me says
I love this, Chris – the concept of the worthy wait. There is always something for which we must wait and so often so many of us bemoan that waiting. Just take Christmas as an example…we wait for Christmas while we miss Advent slipping by. I hate that! But I’m guilty of it, too. We all are.
I have done my share of waiting the last few years with the Hub losing his job, me wanting to leave mine but unable because of his being taken away…and so on. You know the story (you do, don’t you?). In that time we had to learn patience all over again. We had to learn to wait. Things take time.
But I learned this in the process – sometimes the period of waiting is designed for you to do something. Maybe discover yourself, make a decision, learn a new skill, pray more…whatever. So I’m right there with you on the idea of the worthy wait. We can stand and shift our weight from foot to foot while we wait (well, you can’t…haha) and complain or we can do something productive with the time. Say a prayer or two for someone we love, look around and observe something, take a minute to catch up with a friend via text. It’s about opportunity and deciding how we will spend our time.
Love your awesome bionic stormtrooper leg. And I couldn’t resist on the little joke. Hope it made you laugh because you know I love you. XOXO
I love this. I love YOU. I KNOW you know all about waiting, and I love that you get this- so much. My “stormtrooper leg” and my “BIONIC WOMAN SONG” was HILARIOUS!!!! I love you for all your precious support, my friend!!!
Janine Huldie says
I truly used to be terrible at waiting Chris, but somehow I have gotten more patience over the years being a wife and a mom. That said, I am still not a fan of the waiting, but at the very least am just happy to know that I can indeed when I need to and have to. But you my friend are truly an inspiration and totally bring new meaning to the term of waiting. And when I do feel the urge to complain the next time I am waiting for something and seriously going to remember you and your words here today. Thanks Chris 🙂 xoxo!!
Ah… you’re such a love Janine. XOXO
Isn’t it funny how sometimes the most innocent comment from a child is the exact thing you need to hear at that moment?!
I saw on FB about the new torture device and felt so bad for you – I was hoping that yesterday would be the start of less pain and more mobility for you!!!
It was definitely one of those beautifully unpredictable AHA moments for me, given by my birthday boy. Gotta love that. It stuck. 🙂
Allie @ The lathckey Mom says
For me, waiting is one of the mysteries of time, isn’t it? I have never experienced a quick wait – unless it was for something I was dreading…no? But always – the longest wait, is when I have to pee and cannot! I feel dumb writing this once again, but hang in there!
You can’t feel dumb writing that!! I totally get every word, Allie. <3
A worthy wait. I think of pregnancy–all the expectation and discomfort and preparation. But I hope the quality of life once you FINALLY recover makes it a worthy wait!
Yeah- I thought of that too. I also thought of those waiting for pregnancy results… over and over again. Sigh. But yes, those months while the baby is being created in us- so hard and so exciting all at once!!!!
Thinking of my life right now, one of the things I seem to say repeatedly is “I CAN’T WAIT!”
I have always been impatient, harum-scarum and all over the place, moving on to the next thing, often without finishing the thing I was halfway through. I go off half-cocked and make a mess of things and abandon them and continue onto something brighter and shinier.
I don’t like waiting.
BUT there are things to be learned and accomplished in the meantimes, as you say.
You are learning patience, forbearance, fortitude, stoicism, and grace. Your wait is worthy. And you are WONDERFUL.
I think patience is my greatest weakness of all. ACK!! As Cassidy has said COUNTLESS times, “Mom, God is just gonna keep giving you these lessons until you really LEARN to be patient!”
Oy. I’m feeling like I should earn a PhD by now…
No, love. He doesn’t punish us to teach us a lesson. Not His way. Tell Cass from me, please-please. He can USE the shit which life throws at us, and he can USE the agonising consequences of bad decisions or free will or just the world being broken, to help us to grow closer to the people he intended us to be…
…but He won’t ever, ever, ever dole out crap to us because we’re not good enough at something yet. I cannot believe that. That is not the God I know.
Oh she knows God doesn’t punish us… but He will allow situations to arise to help us GROW, and take in more of HIM. I beleive that to be true, and I don’t like it much- but anything that gets us closer to Him, I think He’ll allow.
A worthy wait. I like that. As I was reading this, I was thinking about how I don’t mind being with my thoughts as I do things around the house. I don’t need music to occupy me; I’m okay with the quiet. But if I have to wait for something…I’m so impatient. I should just be with my thoughts – there is certainly enough in there to keep me occupied!
I’m the SAME WAY!!! If someone or something KEEPS me from doing thing, I FREAK. Especially if I was expecting otherwise. It’s that horrible ugly control monster peeking its glaring eyes at me, when that happens!
The long term waiting, however- slowly strips us of that fight and then we begin to listen, learn, and perhaps embrace the moments without the monster. At least that is where I have landed… sort of. Unless I have to pee.
Hi Chris! I think that one sentence from your sweet son makes a lot of the waiting ‘worth it’. God speaks in all different ways, and I think he was speaking then through him. What a compliment!!
You are abiding in a ‘worthy wait’ which is so holy. Yes, it’s only a bodily function, but I know what it’s like to have to go NOW. Or just to think about it so much that it becomes almost obsessional. But you forgot yourself in the joy of your children. That is being a parent, that is being for others.
Blessings and healing (photo of offending boot to come??)
Ceil, I think God does His best work when we’re waiting… I’m beginning to realize that. Are you? I am a ‘doer’ and productivity is my game. This waiting thing? God’s got us right where He wants us. I think He is asking me for His UNdivided attention.
Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life says
I still have a ways to go, Chris. I am terribly impatient…I am not a good “wait”-er at all. One of the many things I need to work on…
I hear ya Michelle. I really do. I can be nasty fool… especially now, when I can’t even clear my plate off the coffee table, or open the fridge door without banging my scooter. I usually just want to scream, when I am stuck in waiting.
I think God is trying to teach me otherwise…
I’m guessing He won’t relent until I get it. Sigh.
Oh I like that “worthy waiting”. I hope I can achieve that. I am generally not very patient at all – waiting feels like such a waste of time for me most often. I think of all the other things I could be doing if not stuck in that particular moment. Or, feel the loss of time.
I am in the midst of a lot of “hurry up and wait” right now, so I gotta figure this out STAT! 🙂
I know, oh do I know Leslie. I can spend so much energy being frustrated and angry about waiting… ESPECIALLY if it’s a long long long time. But we have a choice! I long to chose wisely. 🙂
Aww… Derek’s comment! And your response! So sweet. I love “worthy waiting.” I love to wait. Is that weird? I feel like so many of my days are filled with doing things hurriedly, that when I stop to wait, I really enjoy just sitting.
With a bowl of ice cream..
I need to here. Would you come? I need your chill to rub off on me. Bring the ice cream. No wait, I’d rather have cookies. Mkay? 😉
Noah teaches me to slow down every day…I’m still not very good at it. I hope you don’t have to wait too much longer.
Yeah, kids have a way to forcing us to slow down, to wait- don’t they? I have a feeling I will *always* be working on this!
Out of the mouths of babes….amazing how these little beings that you have nurtured one day begin nurturing you, isn’t it? That you have through this (very painful) journey taught them grace, patience, the art of waiting and the grace that comes with it all. Even though you never intended to…I hope it was a wonderful 9th birthday as you received this wonderful gift.
That is just so true, Kerri! These kids have done such a beautiful job of caring for ME! I hate to ask them too much- and they have been forced to do more than they really should be doing… but they are tending to their mama, and I am so grateful to have them help me! I loved Cade’s observation… bless his heart!
Chris, this is such a lovely post. I can tell you, I don’t like to wait either. But there is such purpose in it…sometimes I just have to sit back, breathe and know that getting to what I want faster doesn’t mean being better once I arrive. There is an art to patience and plentiful blessings through it. So glad we’re both trying to make waiting a worthy endeavor.
P.S. Can I tell you how much I love it that your husband comments. Blessings to you all!!
I love that you and I both try to make waiting a worthy endeavor… I love that you see and feel like I see and feel. And I love that you can totally appreciate my hubs commenting!! Bless his heart- he tries. 🙂
And the trying is worth its weight in gold <3
First of all, I am super impressed with your ability to “wait” that long. And bless your heart. It never even occurred to me how hard it must be when you actually get to the bathroom and only have the use of one leg. I cannot even imagine. You are going to want to celebrate when you have use of both of your legs.
This was a beautiful post on waiting…but not wasting time while we are waiting. I LOVE the fall and winter months and always find myself counting the days through the hot and humid summers, and then it occurred to me how much of my life I was going to waste wishing for that time to be here. I realized I didn’t want to focus so much on what I was looking forward to that I missed the gift of the days I had between now and then. It is a balance. Love that you mentioned that. I cannot wait to hear the report that you are up and walking again….but until then you are just as beautiful, just as loving, just as caring and such a beautiful, giving soul. I’m so thankful for you. xo