“Playing the waiting game.”

“Wait a minute!”
“Please hold.”
“Currently, you are number 6 in queue.”
“There’s been a delay. The plane will be 2 hours late.”
“Not now, honey, Mommy’s busy.”
“There’s an accident ahead. You’ll have to wait.”
“Wait your turn. Susie is playing with it now.”
“I’m sorry, ma’am. The cook dropped your entree. Do you mind waiting for another?”

While waiting for the appointed hour to drive friends to the airport, I began to ponder the amount of time spent in waiting for something to happen.

One of the first lessons in elementary school is how to wait: everything from how to stand in single file (and wait) to waiting for a turn at the pencil sharpener, to waiting for permission to go to the bathroom. All of this is training for a lifetime of more of the same.

It is well known that women spend hours of their lives waiting in line at Women’s Rooms, while the men have long since done their business and wait for their Significant Others not so patiently out in the hall.

We wait eagerly for holidays and special occasions, letting the anticipation build within–an anticipation which is sometimes greater than the realization. Waiting for Mr. Right, and then waiting for the wedding day to arrive keeps our focus always on the future, as we hope against hope that eventually everything will be perfect.

Less eager waiting events include appointments at the dentist, and the ‘delight’ of a mammogram. Lying on a gurney waiting for the surgeon to arrive. Waiting for the cop to check out your license before approaching your driver’s side window. Waiting for the grades to be posted after a hellish exam. Waiting in the hospital for the doctor’s word about your loved one. Waiting for the funeral to begin.

Whether looking forward with enthusiasm or dread, our attention is away from the moment, that precious never-to-return moment of the now. Grumbling because of the wait, we should rather be grieving over losing “Now” time where life is actually happening. Savoring the very air around us, the light and shadows, the sounds and surroundings, faces and textures, we can create an event to be logged in the memory. Life is now.

The most important wait of all is for the return of the Lord. Even there–perhaps more so–we are to stay aware of and immersed in the here and now, for it is here that we are on assignment to make a difference in the world. Waiting.