We are all waiting for something. This week a dear friend waited for the results of her husband’s cardiac tests, only to find herself waiting the next day for the results of his emergency triple bypass surgery. Now they are waiting for pain relief, which thankfully is arriving. My niece is waiting for her big October wedding. My husband is waiting for a work project to be over. We are waiting for the phone to ring, the parts to come in, the hard work to pay off so we can pay for the parts.
If you are self-employed like me, you’re always waiting for the next opportunity, which means you fill your time checking every electronic device you own every five minutes. Writer, comedian, and fellow Moth storyteller Mike Birbiglia describes this waiting practice best in his book Sleepwalk with Me and Other Painfully True Stories, after he’s just completed five shows in four days at colleges separated miles apart:
I’m completely exhausted. But I’m not going to sleep. I have one more thing to do. I have to check my email to see if any more gigs like this have come through. Because when you’re self-employed, email becomes a sort of slot machine.
We are waiting for resolution, to see how things will turn out. But waiting gracefully doesn’t come easily. Henri Nouwen, Dutch Catholic priest, psychologist, and spiritual writer, says:
We are full of wishes, and our waiting gets entangled in those wishes. For this reason, a lot of our waiting is not open-ended. Instead, our waiting is a way of controlling the future. We want the future to go in a very specific direction, and if this does not happen we are disappointed and can even slip into despair. That is why we have such a hard time waiting: we want to do the things that will make the desired events take place. Here we can see how wishes tend to be connected with fears.
I think he’s been following me around. He goes on to say:
It was only when I was willing to let go of wishes that something really new, something beyond my expectations could happen to me.
Something worth shooting for — but something I’ll definitely need to practice.
At this point, I could take the sophisticated road, and reference the profound Waiting for Godot. But instead I’m including the trailer for Waiting for Guffman, one of Christopher Guest’s most brilliant movies that spoofs Waiting for Godot. I think that’s profound enough for a Friday.
* A wonderful line heard in a sermon years ago.
Please Help Me Build My Online Audience!
- Share this blog with your friends — just use the icons below.
- Leave a comment. Feedback is great.
- Want to receive these blogs in your email inbox? Please register at the top right of this page. While you’re there, you can like my artist’s Facebook page and follow me on Twitter.
- Spread the word — your voice is invaluable in bringing my work to new audiences.
- Thanks for your support!