Monday, August 18, 2008

In the Waiting

Last Friday I did a lot of waiting. I paced in my office. I stared out the window. I jumped at my phone at the first sign of a ring.

I waited. I waited, and the ticking minutes threatened my sanity. You can forget about eating when you’re waiting. You don’t have time to chew; you only have time to wait. I felt anxiety, not for myself, but for a friend. The issue wasn’t as serious as test results from a doctor or rumors of war near a loved one. It wasn’t life-threatening, but it was life-changing and important to my friend.

I waited. I waited, and I reflected on the past, on times that I stared at my watch and wondered when change would come. On my internship when everything went as it was not supposed to go and when I felt lower than the floor. On last summer when I thought I was never going to get a job and I didn’t know how I was going to make rent the next month. On my freshman year of high school when I thought the Lord had stopped talking to me forever.

I waited. I waited, and I reflected on times when I was scared. On the phone call that my sister’s delivery wasn’t going as planned and that my niece wasn’t breathing in the womb. On the hours we spent in the NICU, peering through the glass panel in the door to catch glimpses of the newborn’s beautiful, frail body, wondering if she would be all right. On the time I got home from school and my dad told me my brother had been in a car accident and that we needed to leave for the hospital right away.

I waited. I waited, and I reflected on others who have been through far worse than anything I’ve experienced. On the months and months that my aunt and cousins tenderly cared for my uncle when he was dying of cancer. On the years my grandmothers cared for their husbands when the men, always the families’ providers, could no longer take care of themselves.

I waited. I waited, and I reflected on the biblical characters who had to wait, those who were given to me as examples. On Joseph, who spent most of his life waiting in exile and prison although he had done nothing wrong. On Hosea, who waited for his unfaithful wife to return to him. On Israel, who groaned in exile, waiting for the day she could return to her homeland.

I waited. My stomach was in knots, and my brain was pea soup, but a few verses floated through the mire and into consciousness.

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way that I should go, for unto you do I lift up my soul.” Ps 143:8

“When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, thy consolations delight my soul.” Ps. 94:19

“And call upon me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor me.” Ps 50:15

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Ps. 27:14

And then I remembered. I remembered feeling the favor of the Lord when he picked me up in my broken state during my internship and gently caressed and restored my soul. I remembered getting three job offers in one week when I didn’t have enough money in my checking account to cover a haircut. I remembered my sophomore year of high school when I told the Lord I was his and he said, “That, that, is what I’ve been waiting for.”

I remembered how my niece called me “Nini” when she was 15 months old, a healthy, beautiful girl. I recalled my brother’s toothless grin, a grin nonetheless, when we visited him in the emergency room.

I can’t speak to the pain of those whose stories didn’t end well. I don’t know how my cousin felt when she walked down the aisle without her daddy by her side. I don’t know how my aunt and grandmothers grieved when their husbands, their lifelong companions, passed away. I don’t know how the parents of the other man in the car accident reacted when they found out they had lost their only child. I don’t know how Joseph handled the long years in prison or how the Israelites felt on the journey to Babylon.

But I know this: the Lord was there, and the Lord is here. I know it because 2,000 years ago, one waiting period ended. They had been watching for him for thousands of years, and finally, a child was born. He grew up, and he learned to wait. He waited in a garden. He waited through torment. He waited through mockery. And then he conquered. He weeps when we weep and he grieves when we grieve, but the ultimate victory is his.

Last Friday, I waited. I waited, and when I got the news, I cried. Now I wait for what the future may bring, but I know I don’t wait alone.


Anonymous said...

Unbelievable. I love you Em.


audra.marie said...

you are completely eloquent and honest. i could read you all day.

thank you for being you.

(that all sounded a whole lot cheesier than intended, my apologies)

Anonymous said...

That friend is crying right now (in the good way.)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your eloquent empathy for your friend. I am sure he appreciates it.

Keeping Up With the Joneses said...

It's difficult for me to type because the tears are obscuring my vision. I love your heart but of course I've always loved it. You have such a way with getting your thoughts on "paper" and I love you for the empathy that has always been a part of who you are.

I know the Lord will make something good out of all of this. The hardest part is....................waiting.

Keeping Up With the Joneses said...

Poppa loves said...

Thank you.


Six in the Mix said...

Love you, Woo. Cry/smile moment.