Saturday, February 25, 2012

letters from the waiting room

I have been antsy lately. Being restless isn’t all that strange for me, granted. I am a person of passion, and restlessness often follows close behind passion. But the trouble lately is I am antsy all the time. All the time. My days have become an unending stretch of edge-of-seat, hand-wringing antsiness. I feel like my heart has set up shop in a waiting room- waiting for news about my applications, waiting for word from a friend, waiting to know where we will be living next. Waiting for some change, some news, some salve for my unsettled insides.

It is understandable, then, that I have had a pretty hard time remaining present to anyone or anything lately. Last week, I found myself thinking that I would like to go to sleep and not wake up until I am on the far side of some of the things I am waiting for. The space between desire and fulfillment is one of great tension. I am exhausted from dwelling in it.

Thank God for weddings. In the weeks before my two friends recently tied the knot, with the big day rapidly approaching, last minute needs came to the fore (as they always do with weddings) and jobs were handed out. Despite the fact that the bride and groom are two dear friends of mine, I suddenly found myself annoyed with all talk of weddings, and I chafed at the thought of taking on any helping role. I didn’t know why, really. It isn’t like me. I tried to talk myself into a better mindset over and over, but oh man, I wanted to exit the whole scene and go sit alone in my waiting room.

The tension, the chafing persisted. Until the Tuesday preceding the wedding, when those of us at my church’s evening service somehow came around to discussing the notion that we—the body of Christ—belong to one another. I don’t even remember how we got there, or what the scripture was that week. All I know is that I heard it loud and clear on the inside: My community and I, we belong to one another- I to them, and they to me. I realized how self-centered I was becoming in my waiting room. How selfish it really is to want to go to sleep just to avoid the ache that can come with waiting. I realized that I belonged to people who needed me to be awake, to people who needed me to be present in the moment and not just on the far side of my restlessness. This included my soon-to-be-wed friends. And so, in a dual-purpose event, two people I love got married and I got a seismic shift on the inside. I entered fully into the occasion. It was an exhausting and beautiful weekend, both life-giving and full of unexpected joys.

I got a seismic shift, but not a salve. This is still a letter from the waiting room. Still waiting for news, waiting for word from a friend, waiting. And it still hurts. In the midst of it, though, I am finding life in the in-between. I am a little more aware of the present moment, a little more alert to those to whom I belong. Yes, thank God for weddings. And in the end, thank God for waiting rooms where, if I am paying attention, I will often find God himself keeping me company and speaking to my antsy heart.

No comments: