We’ve all been there. Staring down a road that leads to who knows where, wondering if we’ll ever reach the end of it. I’ve read that on average, we’ll spend at least five years of our lives just waiting. Waiting for the interminable line of traffic to start moving. Waiting for the phone to ring. Waiting for an email. Waiting for that long-awaited letter to arrive in the mailbox. We wait for good news. We wait for bad news. Waiting is a physically agonizing process, a process that is completely out of our hands.
If you’ve been writing for any length of time, I suspect by now you know all about waiting. Perhaps you were fortunate enough to go in prepared. Some kind soul warned you that once you start submitting your work, you’d be in for the wait of a lifetime. I wasn’t so lucky. When I started sending out queries to agents and editors, I had no idea how long the whole process would take. Even now as a published author, I’m still frustrated by how long everything takes in the world of publishing. You see, I’m not the most patient person in the world. But I have learned, through trial and error, that some things are worth waiting for.
Once upon a time, about a decade ago, I decided to search for my birth family. I’d always known I was adopted, but until then, never felt the need to search. Until God stepped in and said otherwise. Call it what you will – fate, destiny, blatant curiosity. All I knew for sure was that I needed to know. And so I embarked on a journey with an unknown destination.
If you think the wheels of publishing move slowly, try dipping your toes in the murky waters of the adoption ocean. Uncovering any information is akin to embarking on a quest for The Holy Grail.
Fortunately, given my aversion to waiting, I was one of the lucky ones. My answers came quickly. Too quickly perhaps. I was totally unprepared for the onslaught of emotions that took up residence and unpacked for the duration. It was a hard but necessary time in my life. A time when all I could do was throw up my hands, cry out to God, and ask Him for answers.
You see, not only had I found my birth mother, who was not completely receptive to my sudden reappearance in her life, but I discovered that I had a sister. A sister who was completely unaware of my existence. And I was asked to wait. Wait for the right time to tell her. Wait to see whether or not I would be able to establish a relationship with this person I knew nothing about yet felt deep in my soul a connection I could not at the time comprehend.
I said earlier that waiting is something we can’t control. But we try, don’t we? We send follow-up emails, perhaps a phone call or two to nudge the process along. Eventually we realize we’re not doing ourselves any favors. We give up and go back to waiting.
In the Christian community you’ll often hear the following – “God answers prayers three ways. Yes. No. Wait.” There are no maybes with God. When your answer is a “Yes!”, you know that feeling! You rejoice, cry a little, throw a party. The “No.” answer is hard. It hurts. You don’t understand. You might get angry, depressed, reluctant to try again. But if you know in your heart that God is at work, you’ll accept the no in faith that He has a better plan. Oh, but that “Wait…” Now, that’s the kicker.
How long, God? Why? When will something give?
My wait took a little over a year. As frustrated and anxious as I was with the situation, I knew without a doubt that somehow, some way, God was working it out. Was it easy to wait? As easy as walking across a bed of hot coals and broken glass. Every day. Was it worth it?
My sister and I now have a wonderful relationship. I’m glad I hung in there. I’m glad I didn’t give up. I’m glad I waited. Most of all, I’m really glad I trusted God.
Nowadays, when I’m checking my email every five seconds waiting for news, I remind myself of that time in my life. I tell myself to cut it out. Stop being so impatient. There is a time and a place for everything. And it’s not up to me.
What about you? What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever waited for?