What Are You Waiting For?

Snow Days

If you live in a snow belt state, you probably know first-hand the unbridled joy every kid feels on a snow day. But the hours waiting for that official call always seem endless.

In our corner of Virginia, the Public Information Officer for our school district is a local celebrity. Parents and kids alike await his phone calls before every storm. His witty recordings have earned him a huge fan following, and dozens of memes have been created in his honor. Read more about him here.

Delayed Reward

When I was a kid, there were no robocalls announcing school was closed. There was no crawler on our black and white TV, and no website to visit. We turned on WBZ radio in Boston and listened while Gary LaPierre read through the list of towns with school closures. He read at the speed of a seasoned auctioneer — in alphabetical order. If you left the room, or there was static on the airwaves, you had to wait until the list began again. I felt sorry for kids in Yarmouth. That was a long wait for them!

If you grew up before there was internet, cable TV or cell phones, you get it. Waiting was a normal, everyday part of life. But today, we want everything now! We can’t stand waiting for anything.

Practicing Patience

In Romans, Paul writes,

“ . . . Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” – Romans‬ ‭8:24c-25

Personally speaking I’m not sure that “patiently” describes how I wait. But I try to be patient while I hope for what is to come.

But what does that have to do with snow days?

Ahhhh. Well, what if our personal growth is shaped by the hope we feel during all the waits in life, snow day calls included? Perhaps we grow by learning to wait for what we do not have. We gain strength by hoping for something we have not seen. If we have only heard about something, or perhaps experienced just a glimpse of it, then we anticipate how great it will be!

That is how I view eternity. Think of the best snow day ever, the best vacation, or happiest memory of your life. None of those can even begin to compare what awaits us at the end of our days on earth.

But rest assured, it will be worth every moment of the wait.

Patience and Acceptance

As time passes, I’ve learned that patience and acceptance travel together. Try as I may, I cannot have one without the other. Being patient requires me to accept and adapt to a particular situation, no matter how difficult that process may be. This is where my faith in God sustains me.

Yesterday I spent some time with my mother at her nursing home. My husband and I arrived just as my brother was pushing Mom’s wheelchair into the conference room where we would have lunch together. Mom is just getting over a bout of bronchitis and her voice was raspy, but she was visibly happy to see us. But as anyone who is familiar with dementia will tell you, emotions can change in an instant.

We spread out Mom’s favorite treat of Chick-fil-A nuggets and waffle fries, but she immediately became preoccupied with her new surroundings. “Where am I?” she asked, wide-eyed and frightened, followed by, “Where is my home?”and “How did you get here?” I couldn’t tell if she was just confused by the new setting (not her normal dining area) or by our presence. Either way, she grew increasingly aggitated and eating was the last thing on her mind.

Mom’s food grew cold over the next 30 minutes while we tried to distract and re-direct her attention back to her lunch. After a while, she discovered the fish tank behind us, and we turned her to face it while she sipped her milkshake and talked to the fish. Sometimes you have to pick your battles, and we knew in that moment it was more important to just enjoy our mother’s presence. I sat beside her and we talked about the different fish and their beautiful colors. After a few minutes she grew calmer and was again her happy self.

Knowing how much Mom enjoys being outdoors, we decided to take advantage of the break in the rainy weather, and wheeled her out to the patio. As always, she loved looking at the flowers and she enjoyed the fresh air. I took her for a little stroll along the walkway to see where it led, grateful to have this  precious time together. Still, I longed to have a real conversation with Mom and share news about my life. I bent down and kissed her cheek. “I love you, Mom,” I said. “Oh, I love you too!” she replied. I knew she meant it.

It takes both patience and acceptance to endure life’s situations while we walk this earth. But it is my faith in God that gives me strength and hope as I await the day when Mom and I will once again converse and laugh together in our forever home.