time is a tick. latched on; sucking away at our blood, our childhood, our youth, our kids, our parents, our plans, our dreams, our souls. relentless and unforgiving; pressing forward always ticking, always sucking, never stopping.
recently i took a trip to new york to visit a beloved friend on her birthday. i had a thought as we waited for the train. ”i wonder how much of our lives we spend waiting” – i thought to myself. we rode the train to meet another friend who was standing out in the cold waiting for a table to open at a darling little french restaurant. as the three of us stood huddled in the cold, waiting for our table, waiting to eat delicious french food and enjoy an authentic french press i said my thought aloud. “i wonder how much of our lives are spent waiting”. we stood and thought together and sheltered one another from the cold. while we were forced to wait for food and coffee we giggled and breathed closely on one another; inhaling and exhaling a frigid, beautiful moment of camaraderie.
‘hurry up and wait’ is something i have often heard and been tickled by. it’s pretty quintessential America though, to hurry up and wait. right? or maybe it’s all humans, not just Americans. we rush out the door only to be met by an hour of stop and go traffic. hurry up and wait. as a kid i wanted to grow up and have my independence so bad. hurry up and get through 8th grade so i can go to high school. hurry up and get my driver’s license. hurry up and graduate. but there’s always still something more we end up waiting for. seems like in America we want what we want when we want it and if we’re forced to wait any longer than our patience allows, then we’re pissy and unappreciative by the time we get whatever it was we waited to get. right? or whatever we get turns out not to be what we thought it was going to be, so we’re disappointed & disillusioned and end up setting our sights on the next thing we have to wait for; with hope and anticipation that IT will be what we’ve been waiting for. but wait…..
are we waiting our lives away?
OR, are we perhaps meant to find beauty, contentment, enjoyment and even purpose in the waiting? Eureka!
“take your time” and “take time” are also typical catch phrases, usually in terms of doing something the right way or without messing up. “take time” also implies taking it slow and not rushing something – which is a bit contrary to “hurry up and wait”, but they kind of go hand in hand for me. we can’t literally TAKE time. can we? no, but we can choose to accept the circumstances within the time we have. take what you have while you have it – no matter what it is, then choose to see something noteworthy in that time. even if it’s a tiny bloom, on a tiny branch, in a tiny bit of soil, in an old boot.
we literally wait for everything. don’t you constantly hear or say “I can’t wait for…….summer, dinner, Christmas, graduation, Friday, a new job, a boyfriend/girlfriend, a spouse, a new job, this baby to be born, a new house, vacation…” and then, once we’ve received what we waited for, are we even full, or thankful or appreciative? ask yourself: was it worth the wait? what did i do while i was waiting? the American dream alludes to having more & bigger and being fuller. but often once we get whatever it is we think we need/want/deserve/have earned it doesn’t always fulfill. it doesn’t usually match by measure the amount of time we waited or the amount of suffering we endured whilest waiting.
here’s what i think: i think (for as cliche as it sounds) that we are not meant to waste the waiting.
- to fail to take advantage of or use for profit; lose.
- to pass without being put to use.
- garbage; trash.
- regarded or discarded as worthless or useless.
as the time tick ravenously sucks our lives away, many of us see waiting as a waste of time. but i think time can only be wasted if you allow it; if you surrender your time to be wasted. if it’s your time – as i mentioned before – where we accept the circumstances within the time we’ve been given, then no one can waste your time except YOU. don’t be afraid of something being a waste of your time, you’re the only one who can control how that time is consumed. only you can take advantage of the circumstances within the time you have to see it differently, and use it for profit, or to lose it.