On Waiting

So many things have been put on hold recently, haven’t they? Birthday parties, potlucks, gatherings of any sort have joined ranks with graduation celebrations, sports and even shopping.

It’s not something to celebrate, really, but I’ve been ‘waiting’ for a long time now, and I think the following 5 things about waiting are pretty universally true:

Should We Wait or Should We Grieve?

It’s important to distinguish between things that we’re waiting for that have the possibility of happening and things that we need to grieve because they simply won’t or can’t happen. That’s because, while the perceived emotional cost of grieving may seem higher at the outside, waiting indefinitely for something that isn’t going to happen can take a huge toll on us emotionally over the long haul.

Background Stress and Intensity

For things that will happen – but for which the timing is long and/or uncertain – the emotional cost of waiting is found both in a background stress as well as in more pronounced waves of intensity. Both are normal.

Greet the Waves

As with all emotions, our job is to Greet the Waves. Getting honest about the emotions as they come is our best response: see them, acknowledge them, feel them, and then let them go, knowing that the waves will come back time and again but that we will survive because we are deeply grounded on the shore.

We Can Only Be Responsible for Ourselves

We get in trouble only when (or to the extent) that we try to control the situation. As much as I struggle with this one, I have learned that control is based in fear – it ratchets up the intensity of my emotions and rarely (if ever) results in an improved timeline or quality of response. Sometimes it can even royally backfire on me! Instead, our goal should be to ground ourselves deeply in our values while we take the actions we need to take, and leave the rest to whoever else is responsible. 

Celebrate the Baby Steps

Make sure you celebrate the baby steps and little wins. If you’re a frequent follower of my page, you’ll know that I routinely post pictures of the little tiny wins related to our new house: the hole being dug, the foundation bases going in, a back wall going up – they each get a celebration. Waiting for really big things – be them a house or a baby or a diagnosis or a power wheelchair – can take time, and it’s hard to stay grounded over the long haul, but these mini celebrations have proven critical to maintaining that process.
So, if you’re waiting this morning …
If you’ve BEEN waiting for weeks and weeks or months and months or even years and years of mornings …
Remember: you’re not alone.

And feel free to get in touch – I’m always happy to ride out a long wait together.

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