The following was written in 2015 and offered during the afternoon reflection in the Place of Prayer at JFK Medical Center in Edison, NJ. I was reminded that during my Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Internship I wrote reflections weekly. These reflections have been sitting in a folder on my computer and my plan is to share them with you, dear readers. It has been edited and Scripture added to share with you.
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:13-14 NIV)
To wait is to remain inactive until something expected happens. Waiting involves looking forward to something with either dread or delight. It is a time between what was and what will be. When we wait we linger, we lie low, and we mark time. Waiting is part and parcel of human life. Much of our life is spent waiting.
We wait in line at the grocery store.
We wait in our cars for the traffic light to change.
We wait in the lobby—or waiting area—for doctors appointments to begin.
We wait for mail to arrive and packages to be delivered.
As children, we eagerly wait to grow up—to work and experience the life of adults.
As adults, we eagerly wait for retirement—to rest and play and return the joys of childhood.
In a hospital setting, we also know what it feels like to wait:
Waiting for the birth of a child.
Waiting for loved ones to visit.
Waiting for a much needed test.
Waiting for the doctor or nurse to deliver results.
And if we are honest, waiting can be hard work.
As the mother of two precious and precocious girls under the age of five, I often find myself uttering the words “wait” or “wait a minute.” Through them, I have witnessed just how difficult waiting can be. I used to grow exasperated at their lack of patience to wait, until I recognized my own lack of patience in waiting. Whereas children throw temper tantrums and repeatedly ask for the “thing” they are waiting for, adults have equally expressive responses to waiting—honking the car horn and looking at one’s watch every 2 minutes. These responses grow out of the same emotion—worry, fear and anxiety that what we need or desire will not come to be or the thought that we could and should be doing something, anything, with the time that we are waiting.
But what if we waited in a different way? What if we experienced waiting as sacred time to rest, hope, and eagerly anticipate what is coming next? What if we understood waiting as time for new possibilities to be formed and brought to bear? What if we lived into waiting as a time to be strengthened for what was coming next?
So today, I invite each of us to trust the wait, embrace the uncertainty, enjoy the beauty of becoming and to recognize that when nothing is certain, anything is possible.
Let us pray…
Gracious God, we thank you for this day and for your presence in our lives. We find comfort and strength in certainty, and yet so much of what we encounter is unknown, unclear, and in process. Give us the courage to wait when our patience wears thin. Give us the faith to live into uncertainty. Give us eyes to see the beauty and joy that lies in the unfolding nature of life. And remind us of your constant and sure presence with us through it all. In Jesus Name, Amen.