WES Blog — Waiting for something to happen…

Of all my Christmas morning memories, the strongest is one that repeated year after year when I was a child. In our house, the main presents waited until all the grown-ups were awake and showered and breakfasted…in other words, an intolerably long period of time. I could open my stocking, though, as soon as I woke up–and it would be hung or laid right outside my bedroom door. So, here’s the memory: lying in bed, having dream after dream of getting up and getting my stocking. Literally, I would have a mini-dream that I had gotten up, then I’d wake up, realize it was still dark, go back to sleep, and have the same dream, on repeat, until it was finally 6am. The waiting for my stocking was so excruciating that my brain rehearsed, over and over again, the moment when that waiting would finally be over. 

I haven’t gotten much better at waiting–and sometimes I still have dream like that, where I rehearse what it is I am either hoping or dreading may happen. I don’t think I’m alone; many folks have reflected with me how difficult it is to sit in the waiting time, to know that some news is coming but isn’t here yet. Waiting for test results, perhaps. For the other shoe to drop. For the nursing home to call. For the news to become public. For the house to sell. For the college admissions envelope to arrive. 

Waiting, whether it’s for bad news or good news or simply news, calls on our core emotional and spiritual skills. It asks us to be okay with uncertainty–and let’s be real, who likes uncertainty?! Sometimes we don’t even know what we’re waiting for, we just know that wherever we are isn’t the place we expect to end up. Experiencing that uncertainty, that liminal space, can be hard. 

This month’s theme of Mystery has focused on the awe and wonder aspect of the word, and it’s been so much fun to see the universe and each other through those eyes. But tonight, as I think about waiting for stockings and waiting for a new year and all the many ways you may be wondering what comes next in your life, I honor the more challenging part of Mystery. 

May we find the courage and the strength to sit in Mystery, to make it through uncertainty and unknowing. May we try not to rehearse–over and over again as in a dream–what might happen next, but rather breathe deeply and notice what is, now, in the midst of our waiting.