The Joy of Waiting

So often I hear the experience of waiting described as hell, as agony, as the most distressing aspect of getting to something.  In the book I am reading right now, for example, the protagonist describes the moments before a cross country race as the worst part of his running experience, worse even than the pain of sprinting through six miles, of choking and gasping for breath at the end of it all.  Many others describe how waiting seems to drag on forever–children watching the clock for the bell to ring, college grads waiting for the results of a test or interview.  In my case, there is a lot of waiting to be had these days, but I find that, rather than dreading the wait, I have been basking in this in-between time of sorts, for it has allowed me to, of all things, take a moment of pause and to return to some of the simple things that give me joy.  

As I wait for, variously, graduation, a job, and my marriage, I find that I am more than content to indulge three of my favored (and often neglected) habits–reading, cooking, and running.  It is truly interesting to me, in fact, to discover how quickly the joy of some of these pursuits returns, for it was seldom to never the case that I would pick up a book for fun during my studies.  And yet, less than twenty four hours after my FINAL final I found myself devouring fiction like I had been starving these last few years.  I am beginning even to resent the reality that i will soon be far removed from my beloved Harvard library system, wherein my heart’s desire could be mine within hours, as long as it wasn’t already in use.

The gym has been a similar experience.  Sure, I have been diligent in going to the gym throughout my time at school, but my free schedule has allowed me to explore new things, to push myself in ways that my former time limitations couldn’t and wouldn’t allow.  I have tried two-a-days, for example, and find that I rather enjoy the burn.  It also doesn’t hurt to have access to a nicely subsidized Harvard Wellness Center that offers lovely massage services!

Finally, I have had time to indulge some of my sillier habits with regards to cooking, which I must say has been wonderful.  I am back to making granola again, which is hands down the best breakfast I can imagine.  Furthermore, I have the luxury of listening to my gut rather than planning around classes and travel–in other words, I eat when I am hungry, which is infinitely more satisfying.

As an aside, all this time to read and think has been good for my Spirit– I have found myself more open to exploring some ideas that I didn’t previously have time for, not only reading pursuits but also theological and pedagogical interests.  I have been thinking about sermons more, for instance, and it feels good to be creative.

Get ready and wait

Man am I ever really feeling the season of Advent.  Maybe it’s something in my water, but I have been feeling the disease and lack of comfort that comes with waiting earnestly– for a future, for answers, for certainty, for God to direct me in the right place.  And I will say, that I am getting the sense that sometimes it feels less than restful to be fully in the liturgical season.  Usually, I feel expectant in a hopeful way right about now, for it is time for a break and a rest from school and for time with my family.  I get excited about classes for the following semester, for everything that I could and can be doing in the following summer.  

This time, however, is different.  I feel like I am anticipating graduation physically right now, subconsciously getting prepared for the reality that my life is about to change drastically, and it is disconcerting.  I have been a full-time student for almost my whole life, never taking a year off to do anything different, never taking a break, never trying something new.  And now, finally, all of that education has built itself up into an end… no more degrees to pursue, so now I have to try my hand at this other part of reality, move into a new phase of life that doesn’t revolve around academics but instead is focused on the lived experience and practice of the theoretical that I spent so long thinking about.

Not knowing what to expect is running my mind for a loop or two.  For now, however, I can do little else but wait for what will come, and trust that God will be acting in it.  Let’s just hope that I can sort some of this out soon.