Waiting . . . a mantra

Two years ago during our family Christmas dinner, then three-year-old grand, Eli, was getting fidgety and ornery. After several minutes I got his attention and simply said, “It’s really hard to wait, isn’t it.” He immediately stopped and the look on his face said, someone hears me. He simply responded, “I do not like to wait.” The two of us then had a Mr. Rogers moment talking about waiting and what we can do while we wait.

Last week I had a doctor’s appointment and she was running more than a little late. My appointment was for 11:20, and at 11:15 the woman who had the 10:40 appointment was still sitting in her chair. A nurse came out about then, apologized on the doctor’s behalf and explained that a procedure was taking longer than expected. She then offered snack crackers, water, and juice to anyone who wanted it – have never had that happen before!

As I waited, I thought of another doctor’s office. My first OB doctor, Dr. Schroeder, was this older German man who was the sweetest, most compassionate doctor I’ve ever had. When it was obvious I was going to miscarry my first little one, he squeezed my hand and told me how very sorry he was. From the tone of his voice and the look in his eyes I knew he truly was. Dr. Schroeder had a sign in his waiting room I’ve never forgotten.

If you are waiting to see me, please know that another patient is receiving the care and attention you expect and will receive.- Dr. Schroeder

I never read that sign as an admonition to just sit and be patient, but as a promise I would be taken care of. The words took me out of my own needs and reminded me others had those as well–maybe greater than mine that I of course knew nothing about. I’m grateful he took extra minutes to comfort me, even though he knew other expectant moms were sitting in the waiting room.

When I did get to see the doctor last week, she apologized profusely for the delay. This was my first appointment with her so I’m sure she was embarrassed about the impression she was making. I told her about Dr. Schroeder’s sign and assured her all was okay. Her look of gratitude spoke volumes.

After my appointment, Hubby and I stopped at the mall to pick up an order, and we weren’t the only ones in line; some were fidgety, some kept looking at their watches and looking around the few people in front of them. I thought again of Dr. Schroeder’s sign, with a little edit.

If you are waiting, please know another customer is receiving the same attention that you expect and will receive.

Saturday evening Hubby and I went to dinner and–as they say down here–they were slam (really busy quickly). Our waiter was great–cheerful, attentive, and keeping up with his orders at several tables.

If you are waiting, please know another patron is receiving the same attention and service that you expect and will receive.

During Advent, the season of blessed waiting, there are so many instances of little daily waitings that try our patience. Delays in deliveries? Our ‘To Do’ list that keeps getting longer? The number of cars that increase at each intersection? Check-out lines that wind into the aisles?

In our desire and good intentions to bring in the spirit of Christmas, it’s sometimes easy to overlook the Spirit already present in those around us. 

I know I’m lucky in that I had the time to wait for a late appearance by my doctor. Another patient might not have that luxury. I also know that when I’m pressed for time it’s often because I’ve pressed too much into it. I have a bad habit of clumping all my errands into one day, then sometimes feeling rushed trying to accomplish everything if a stop or two takes longer than I planned. It’s like I somehow believe time expands to suit my schedule. That theory seems to work only when I’m gardening or when I’m writing.

While I’m not one to snap at a clerk or cashier, that impatience drains my naturally positive attitude, so I’m not as friendly or cheery as I otherwise might (should) be–I’m still nice!–the light is just a shade dimmer. It’s my own Spirit that I overlook just a bit.

Yesterday began the second week of Advent, and in my Mary Oliver poetry meditation, this week’s theme is peace. May we all find peace in our waiting this week – both toward the people we encounter, but also toward our own inner Spirit.

While I wait, others are waiting too.

Recently Hubby and I sat in on Eli’s Tae-Kwando class. The students were running through an exercise individually, so all the other students had to sit at attention until their turn. Out of a class of 10, Eli was one of the last students to go. While others around him fidgeted, Eli didn’t move a muscle while he waited.

While others wait, I am waiting too.

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2 Responses to Waiting . . . a mantra

  1. bertielou51 says:

    Good things come to those who wait. (My mother always said.)

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