I remember as a child that I’d fall in love with catalog items, because this was before the Internet. I was maybe 13 or 14 and these were the days of smudged fingerprints on glossy catalogs. It was certainly an age of, “I MUST HAVE THIS NOW,” but even beyond that. I’d find a skirt I was in love with, or a flannel shirt (the 90s, after all) while looking at the Macy’s catalog. “I need to have this now,” I would say. “Ok,” my mom would say. “Let’s go later this week.” “NOW,” I’d say, not even looking at the clock which probably said it was 9pm on a weeknight. “Soon.”
And I’d always wait – because I had to. I didn’t have a license yet or it really was after 9pm on a weeknight. I’d always wait, because I had to, but I never liked to wait. I think it made me itchy.
You can say that life is an exercise in waiting, but that doesn’t mean we get better at it. Or maybe we do. Maybe I was never good at it. My mom’s mom, Nana Jane, would read ahead to the ends of books. It was a quirk of hers, and mainly it’s because she lived to age 100 and didn’t know how much time she had left. So maybe she’d spoil the endings of her books in case she passed away and could never read far enough. Can you imagine putting all that work in, and never knowing the endings? Life is full of unfinished stories and many just beginning still.
Sometimes, even with time on my side – or so I think and hope – I spoil books for myself as well. TV shows and movies too. I’ve been better at it lately, because my kids have been teaching me that the art of true surprise and letting go is so delicious. That rush of crisp air into your lungs.
I’d spoil books just for the pure indulgence of it. Sometimes even if you know the outcome, that doesn’t mean the journey is any less fun. It’s fascinating to see how Point A gets to Point B. Really, it’s like Point A to Point Z, and 24 zig-zaggy points in between. It’s never so simple. Books can leave you with a gasping hole or a satisfying filling, but either way, the stories don’t stop when you close the pages of life. We go on and nothing is determined or set in stone, is it?
I’d spoil TV shows and movies, just to see if I could handle the middles and ends of those stories. Beginnings too. Could I wrap my head and heart around it? If not, I don’t know if I wanted to try. Or at least I’d be going in prepared. And if so, again, I’d still be going into that theater prepared.
Life, though. It doesn’t prepare you for the ride. So I can control my books, TV shows, and movies, to an extent, and be dizzyingly happy when I lose control and it feels oh so good.
The thing that always gets me, though, is that if you know the outcome of a certain spinning story in your web, and it’s WAY better than the part of the story you’re in, how could you not want to rush to that end? Instead, sometimes, you’re forced to extricate yourself from the webbing and make your way around other victims and obstacles. That pain is physical, emotional, jarring. You know you have to feel it every which way before you get to the end of the web. It’s the waiting that’s the hardest part – even when you’re moving, working, fighting, forcing, pushing, pulling. It doesn’t matter. No amount of pain and pressure moves you faster.
Rather, you have to lie in that pain and scream because someone told you screaming feels better. Play those sad songs, scream your pain, call your loved ones, avoid or don’t avoid chemical substances. Some will even take the edge off, but only true waiting and true stillness and true growth will eject you out of that tangled web and onto something new – not concrete.
And that – that gets me every time. All we can do is take it bird by bird, and step by step. That IS hard, but once you get into the groove, I think it gets easier. I think it’s an upwards motion – like getting used to scaling hills – but also learning to enjoy the motion of the ride down as well.
Waiting is hard for me because there’s a void I know will be filled, but it should be natural and healthy. What I do with that void matters, and it might/will not be the same thing every time. Waiting is uncomfortable, distorted, daunting, and sometimes intolerable. So I sit in it and try to make sense of it. There may never be enough answers to my questions, and that resolution may not be what I expect. Relief is inevitable, mostly, but so out of reach sometimes, or just at first.
And then it happens, and it washes over me and seeps into my pores. And after awhile I’ll think, “Oh, how it feels like this relief and resolution have been here all this time. Onward now.”
Until it happens again. How long will it take? Will I have to wait longer this time, or will it be blessedly shorter? Is life one long waiting line, or is it the perfect opportunity to stop and pluck flowers along the way? Get drunk off the dizzying blue of the sky and stop to lie down – letting my hair fall here, everywhere – and letting my head spin the world around me, cloud by cloud.
I’m linking up with Finish The Sentence Friday (FTSF) for another great prompt. This week’s topic is “When it comes to waiting..” And there’s time to write yours. Link up your post HERE.