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What's Up With Waiting?

Updated on October 07, 2012
    "You take it on faith
     you take it to heart
     the waiting is the
     hardest part..."
        ~Tom Petty~

We wait & wait & wait & wait some more...
We wait & wait & wait & wait some more...

We Wait & Wait & Wait

We spend most of life waiting. We wait in lines, we wait in traffic, we wait for a phone call, we wait for test results, we wait for the check that’s in the mail, we wait for someone to get out of the bathroom, we wait for our favorite program to start, and we wait and wait and wait, and then wait some more.

The raw-edged rocker Tom Petty was exactly right. The waiting is the hardest part because while we wait for this or that, we ultimately are waiting to die. It is in the waiting that we endeavor to discover meaning and significance; it is in the waiting that all the stuff of life happens.

Jack Webb as Sergeant Joe Friday
Jack Webb as Sergeant Joe Friday

Just The Facts

As Sergeant Joe Friday of Dragnet fame used to say: “Just the facts, ma’am.” Well, facts are facts; no amount of wishful thinking or denial can transform the simple facts of life and death. It doesn’t matter how old or young we are; it matters not how important we are or how important we think we are, the unadulterated fact is that no one is ever promised tomorrow.

Death is the inevitable end of life; death is the ever-present reality looming in everyone’s future. No one really wants to think about that fact. As long as life hums along smoothly, few people give death much consideration, which is a serious mistake that can rapidly lead to presumption and arrogance.

Without a clear understanding of our destiny, we become self-involved. In all our waiting, everything is about us; each delay drives us deeper into self-absorption.  It doesn’t take much of a push for us to be whiners who complain about every little thing as if the sun actually rises and sets on us. Then we have the unmitigated gall to wonder why our lives lack rhyme or reason.

The Big Picture

The point is that if we lived as though each day was our last, our response to life and relationships would be different; our perspective on the whole concept of waiting would be in balance.  We’d grumble less and praise more; we’d clutch less and give more; we’d argue less and hug more; we’d hate less and love more. 

The urgent demands of the contemporary race to succeed often sweep us along.  So much so that we forget that we are created for a higher purpose; we forget that our identity is dependent on our connection to our Creator.

It is only in the routine contemplation of our mortality that we catch a glimpse of the Big Picture; it is only when the realization that one day we will die and face eternity settles into us that we can fully live.  Setting aside daily sessions of introspective self-examination reminds us of who we are, who God is and what life is truly all about.   In all of this, we are not alone.

An Ancient Lesson

King David of Israel was a man no different than any of us.  He waited; he was well acquainted with waiting for his hopes and dreams to be realized.  He experienced all the excruciating highs and depressing lows of life.  He knew great victories and terrible defeats; he knew the close communion of friendship, but he also understood the pain of betrayal and abandonment.  He believed God; he worshiped with passion and vigor, but in times of loss or despair, he vented his feelings to God in gut-honest rants.  He was entirely human.  He came to terms with the vagaries of life by humbly bowing to his Maker.

"Before the mountains were born..."
"Before the mountains were born..."

Consider his heartfelt wisdom: “Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.  Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.  For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.”  “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”

Thank You For The Waiting

When we seek to live in faith and surrender to God, then little by little and bit by bit our perspective is changed.  It becomes clear and we have an answer to what’s up with waiting.  Each moment takes on infinite value; even those spent waiting for the mundane, for we begin to comprehend that each minute of each hour of each day is a gift.

With this focus, the hardest part of waiting is to remember to say thank you. 


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    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 7 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Great Hub Ken my life philosophy since Viet Nam has been "When God wants you home, You're going, Till then..He's got stuff for you to do, so Do your Duty."

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Thanks, HammerJammer. Great philosophy. It needs to be proclaimed loud & clear again & again...because we all have a tendency to forget.

    • profile image

      kathy brown 7 years ago

      where was this message the past 2 and 1/2 years? great concept about waiting!

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Thanks, Kathy. I guess it's been rattling around my head for a long time.

    • profile image

      Daryl Climenhaga 7 years ago

      C.S. Lewis used to say that he enjoyed the slow train ride between Oxford and Cambridge (he lived in Oxford, and taught in his later years at Cambridge) because it gave him time to get through his prayers. Waiting can be good for us! (But I still don't necessarily enjoy it.)

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Thanks for the good words, Daryl.

    • jorjaclare profile image

      jorjaclare 6 years ago from Wherever there is a beach

      I enjoyed this hub. Thanks. It is important to enjoy the here and now and not always be straining for what's ahead. We should be thankful for every moment. Life is a wonderful gift.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      jorjaclare - Thank you for stopping in & sharing. I'm glad you enjoyed the visit. Blessings.

    • Fluffy77 profile image

      Fluffy77 5 years ago from Enterprise, OR

      Very beautiful, living in the moments and taking one day at a time is a great way to live really.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Fluffy77 - Thank you for the good words.

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