Good things come to those who wait. Waiting for my ship to come in. I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. What is up with this thing called waiting? Has God not heard? We are in the information age. Waiting is so last year. Now instant gratification is the norm; or is it? Waiting has been given a bad reputation and perhaps we need to re-examine its purpose in our lives.
Yesterday I happened to overhear three young men talking about the Rubik’s Cube. The one fellow is explaining to his table mates that he gave it all he could for an hour. He then went online and looked up the solution and still was unable to complete it. It is crazy making for him and he and his friends went on and on about it. The interesting thing which occurred to me is that it obviously has some importance to them but they talked only about the task and not about the deeper meaning of why it bothered them.
I smiled to myself thinking that computers may operate in nano-seconds but life does not operate at the speed of the internet. If you have children you will be waiting the same nine months for gestation as the rest of humanity has waited for the past tens of thousands of years (homo sapiens are 200,000 years old but often we use cro-magnon man from 35,000 years ago to illustrate our lineage as he had art in his culture). Technology has not altered the reproduction cycle, at least not yet.
Relationships can be started in minutes across continents and even across languages but they remain forged over lifetimes and shared events. No amount of online dating will substitute for human touch. No matter how much technology exists the human brain operates the same. The humans of today have the same basic fears, wants and desires as the billions who have come before us. As much as we think we are different we in fact remain the same. And this is a good thing. Consistency lends security to the human experience. It is why 92% of our thoughts each day are the same as the day before. And patience serves us well also. But we must understand when and why we choose to wait. For waiting can also be a choice which distracts us from achievements.
Imagine if in fact the world worked like social networking does. You can start or end relationships using buttons to either add, silence or delete people on a whim. Who would ever keep their children? I mean really? Sure there are one or two perfect kids but out of 7 billion of us living at this moment but the percentage is immesaurably small. Most of us were challenging, and that is a good thing and a natural part of human development. If parents could delete their children at the touch of a button they would (especially knowing they could “re-invite” them back again later). For sure people would be silenced more often and faster than even Cuba is able to do to its citizens and it has 50 years of techniques and strategies honed to a fine skill for just this purpose. In other words not wanting to wait would not necessarily create a better world. Sure waiting can be negative sometimes when we need a medical treatment or some other life threatening assistance but waiting (like everything else) is neither good nor bad. It just is and so to understand it we need to understand ourselves and then put our waiting into context in our lives.
If we want to enjoy our lives then I believe we must to learn when it is the right time to wait and when it is the right time to not do so. I know that in my own life I benefit from waiting for my husband to arrive. I have proof on a daily basis. It forges more communication about feelings. It fosters deeper understanding of cultural differences. It helps me to build strong love bonds through enduring a sacrifice together. Do I like it? No. Did I want it? No. But does it benefit me and my life? Yes. And so I do it. But I do it consciously and knowing that there is an end in sight and my goal is clear and desired. And so for this reason I believe it is the right time for me to wait.
What is it in your own life that you may be waiting for? Is the waiting declared (in other words you have admitted to yourself and to others that you are waiting)? Is it right for you to wait? If others are involved, do they know you are waiting and do they desire it or agree to it? Is the waiting to reach an outcome or the main event? Is waiting the activity itself or is waiting required to reach the goal? These are the fundamental questions that we must ask in order to understand when and why we choose to wait in our lives.
And make no mistake, the time we invest to know ourselves and make explicit, conscious and apparent choices is well spent and will surely create a life we love to live.