For about a week, we had been waiting for a specific piece of mail.
Waiting has been a theme ’round these parts for quite some time. It’s almost as natural to me as breathing at this point. One day last week, I arrived to pick up Rod, but he wasn’t ready yet, and I waited. Not for long, but without irritation, I waited. And I thought about how much I have gotten used to waiting.
I think I have learned – finally – that there are some things I cannot control. Those things include the length of my husband’s phone calls and his preference for chemically-enhanced peanut butter, the amount of hunger my children will claim to have in between school and dinner, when exactly I get to visit Chicago again, whether I will ever get off the library’s waiting list for The Hunger Games, my wiry gray hairs and inability to spell “maintenance” and “thorough” without spellcheck, the timing of our Grand Purpose For Moving To Myrtle Beach, and the U.S. postal service.
But all this waiting, while it has settled into my bones, it has also made me weary. Sometimes I have a moment of…exhale, I guess…and suddenly, I can feel the weight of the wait. Some of the things we’ve waited on are inevitably superficial. But some of them, like this piece of mail, mean a lot, a lot, a lot to our family. They are the things that keep us from going back to sleep when we’ve awaken at 2am, the things that give us knots in our stomachs, the things that make us cry a little more than we should at something we see on fictional TV, take every FB post we read personally, and laugh nervously to fill awkward silences.
This day, this time, the thing we were waiting for came. Rod walked outside to get the mail, and he prayed. I stayed in the kitchen and sang a few lines of a hymn to my daughters (“to God be the glory, great things He hath done…”). He came back in and tried to fake me out, But I knew.
And you know what? It brought three friends. A fourfold blessing!
Edit: When I first wrote this, on Monday night, I thought that was the end of that story. It wasn’t. Let me be a little more transparent by saying when I took the largest one of that fourfold to deposit in the bank, in the account we’ve had for almost a year, I was informed there would be a 7 day hold on it. My response as a big, tall woman-of-faith? I cried. Like, ugly cried, right there in the drive-thru. And when I drove away, I started crying, “I want to go home,” which makes absolutely no sense because I am home and the banks in Chicago suck, too. By the time I called my mom, did a portion of the grocery shopping I had planned, picked up Rod for a meeting we had, and devoured a chicken-biscuit-and-sweet-tea (skipping breakfast and caffeine might have been part of the reason for my hysteria), my perspective had shifted back to its somewhat-proper balance. But wow… God really, really, really wants to make sure I’ve learned not to get ahead of myself!
For the most part, though, I am learning to wait more serenely. I’m learning that being made to wait is likely God testing my faith rather than an attack from my enemy. I’m learning that growth is often the goal, not some lofty, shiny result. I’m learning to expect God to answer my prayers and provide for my family. And I’m hoping that my faith will become more like a child’s in all this, because: see?
Hopeful, rested, weightless waiting is a beautiful thing.