You’ll just have to wait.
It’s a phrase I recite daily to my daughter, when we are about to leave the house and she decides she wants to play in the backyard, or when I am cooking dinner and she wants to eat the chicken right now. In earlier days, she would melt into a sobbing mess on the floor when I told her this, but now she usually takes it with much more grace, only briefly expressing her disappointment and then moving on to distract herself with some other activity. The key word here is “usually”- sometimes she still melts down when I tell her she has to wait, but I am trying to make her aware of the reality that she cannot have whatever she wants right this second, even if she asks nicely. When I tell her she has to wait a little while, she usually repeats back to me in her sweet toddler voice, “Have to wait, okay”.
After some reflection, it seems that I need to take a lesson from my one-and-a-half year old daughter, and her growing ability to accept delayed gratification.
One day a few weeks ago when I had a few quiet moments to myself, I began to feel the gravity of the unknown variables in my life creep behind me and sink its nails deep into my thoughts. Often in the quiet moments I feel the weight of my unknown future, and sometimes it makes me sad worried, sometimes hopeful. This particular time, I felt restless. Uneasy. Impatient.
This time, I thought to myself, “I am doing really well lately -I am starting figure some things out, I have created a sense of normality in my life, I am well on my way to getting myself standing strong on solid ground…”
Then, on cue, just like a child calling a parent, “God! Hey! Hey God. So I’ve been doing pretty well considering all those tricky life things that I got myself tangled into over the past few years. I know I can’t take all the credit, because honestly You and my family have bailed me out of rough situations more times than I can count, but I feel that I have been considerably resilient. I think it’s time for some answers, or maybe some good changes in my life? Maybe some clues as to what happens next, or where I should go now that I am through the worst?” (I laugh at myself thinking this, because I know there can always be something much worse right around the corner).
In short, lately I have been feeling simply impatient. Now that I have some basic things figured out, can I start working on the fun parts now? Maybe I could meet some new friends, maybe some young people who have little kids like me, people who might also have cute single man friends looking to meet a cute single mom (I know, yeah right about that last part, but a girl can daydream). Maybe I can start deciding where to send Coco to school- I am a private school kid myself, and the public schools in our area are not so great, but the tuition. Yikes.
Thoughts swirl in my head like this for a long time, on and on- I need to buy a car in the next few years, but I also need to pay off my loans, and make some big decisions about a career. All the while, I feel more restless and impatient, wishing that the good changes would start happening already. Finally, a thought popped into my head, a phrase I repeat to my daughter daily- but this time, God spoke it to me, like a parent to a child.
You’ll just have to wait.
Oh. Right, okay. I just have to wait.
Read this post I wrote a few months ago, and you will get an idea of how I tend view my future now, with a hopeful lens and a broad vision. While I have learned not to get overly attached to the plans and dreams that I concoct for my future, I still get restless and impatient thinking about when and how I will be able to start making changes to improve myself, my life, and my daughter’s life. As I wrote before, I am eager for the good changes to begin. I do not want to imply that I have had a lack of good life changes recently; in fact, my life is both immensely good and perpetually changing, in both easy and difficult times. But I now I am eager and impatient for exciting life events to find their way to me. It’s time I listen to myself, and learn some patience. I must learn to wait.
This is simply the season in my life right now. I realized that I need to be thankful for this time of waiting that God has allowed into my life, because it has been more peaceful than chaotic. I have realized that I should take this time to recuperate, to heal some wounds, to grow, and work, and enjoy the little things. I am learning to endure this season of my life patiently waiting for the good things to start growing and manifesting in new ways. Until then, I wait.
I had a hard time with this at first, because “waiting” sounds so passive and feeble, like you are waiting for your life to happen. I believe waiting can be active; it can be a time of growth, and evaluation, and discovery, and work. There is a quote from someone who is very wise that perfectly expresses what I am trying to convey. In the children’s show Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (a second generation spin-off of the original Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, in case there was any confusion), Daniel Tiger learns the following important lesson, in catchy sing-song form, of course:
While you wait, you can play,
sing, or imagine anything.
-Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
Just because my life is in a season of waiting, does not mean I have to sit around and wish exciting things would happen to me. I will patiently wait, and keep trying to figure things out, and work hard, and enjoy a simple life for now. Thanks God, for reminding me to pay attention to the very things I tell my own daughter- please help me be patient.
I’ll just have to wait.