After two weeks I ease back into this rhythm. I hear the kids playing in another part of the house, their distant echoes comforting. I hear the traffic going by on James Street. I hear Leo begin to cry, and I hear Maile’s footsteps pass along the creaky floorboards in the hall, and then Leo stops crying. The tree in the back yard makes a shushing sound as autumn arrives.
There is always too much to write, and there is never enough. The words are easy to come by, and they elude me.
Today someone asked me what I do for a living. The answer comes quickly now, and without even thinking I say, “I’m a writer. I co-write and ghost-write books for people.” But what does that mean, actually? I know, I know, I’m over-thinking things.
But that still doesn’t seem like enough, even though it’s what I wanted for so many years. It still feels like I’m waiting for something else, something new.
* * * * *
We are, all of us, waiting for something. I’m waiting to hear back from various people regarding a book proposal I sent out. My kids are waiting for their school day to be over. My parents are waiting to sell their house. I have friends waiting for a baby to arrive, waiting for a relationship to work out, waiting to hear back regarding a job. In winter, the tree waits for spring.
In my experience, waiting can be harmless. It can be something that lies in the background of life, something I know is there but pay little attention to.
But it can also easily paralyze me. Life can become about the waiting, and if I’m not careful everything besides what I’m waiting for falls to the side. While waiting to hear back regarding this book proposal, my life can easily devolve into a series of meaningless activities, all of which feed the waiting: checking email, checking Facebook, re-reading the manuscript, etc etc etc. And even if I escape these activities that surround the waiting, my mind can still turn over and over on itself, wearing a rut difficult to escape from.
What are you waiting for?
* * * * *
I take a deep breath. I sit in silence for five minutes, just five minutes because that’s all it takes to jump the rut of waiting. That’s all it takes to find a new rhythm, slower breathing, a form of peace that doesn’t always make sense. Five minutes sitting on the floor with my back against the door frame, and in the silence I remember the things that are beautiful in my life: the sound of feet creaking floorboards, the sound of children’s voices, the sound of autumn arriving. These are things here and now, things I don’t have to wait for.
7 Replies to “What I’m Waiting For”
Thanks Shawn. I needed to read this as I lay in bed, dreading getting up. I know for the sake of my family I can’t put my life on hold, but without realizing it, that’s what I’ve done. I think some of the rest of us have, too, and I have to lead by example. We need to really listen and look and be grateful for those 1000 gifts that are right before us, right now. I just have to figure out how to find the strength to push ahead, butI need longer than five minutes. These words, I think, may help. Thank you.
Keep going, Georgi. Keep looking for peace.
My family is living in the heaviness of a lengthy waiting period as we prepare to move to England and I think it has perhaps taught me more about the character and love of God than any other circumstance in my life. The waiting is so hard but the lessons are rich. All of creation waits and its good to remember that. This is lovely, an empathetic shoulder to lean on this morning.
We lived in England for four years, Shelly. It will be worth the wait. Do you know where in England?
My friend Tom always said that “the waiting is the hardest part”
He was a wise man, that Tom.
Oh, yeah. The waiting. A good, hard season – that recurs your whole life long. Lovely word weaving, Shawn. Thank you.
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