I sit in the waiting room passing time, wondering what’s next, and planning for things that may or may not ever happen. Call it worry, call it dreaming, call it smart preparation. For me it is stillness. It is patience. It is faith. I never know what news will come or what boulder will be placed in my path. But I trust the path maker. And that gives me peace.
A young mom and dad are nestled in two facing arm chairs over my left shoulder. As I walked into the office I noticed them answering their baby’s cry with a shuffle through a bag, a retrieval of the tiny bundle from a stroller, a cradled arm outstretched, a pass over the arm of a chair, then a filled need- two bodies dancing without saying or word or lifting their feet off the ground. The baby cooed while I signed in.
I chose to wait in the large sofa in the center of the room. Normally I stay away from anything upholstered, from anywhere my girls and I could leave a mark, but today I was alone. And I usually take up only my required space in this crowded world. I didn’t need room for three, but being a mom means I relish in small pleasures- a long shower without a chattering audience, every seat filled at the dinner table, warm, clean clothes straight from the dryer, a tiny vase of handpicked wildflowers, and an empty couch in a quiet room with a table of magazines I used to subscribe to at my fingertips with time to spare.
As I reached for the first magazine to flip through, I heard a woman’s laughter in the hallway. She flung the door open. Her heels combed the carpet as she barreled through, wheeling an unscathed black suitcase behind her with one hand and tucking her phone against her ear with the other. I tried to keep my nose in the magazine as she chose a high-back tufted chair to my right and clicked the handle of her suitcase before lowering it, but I couldn’t help but overhear her end of the conversation. She was well-dressed and her bright smile remained outstretched the entire call. There was a rhythm to her life, I imagined. She felt in control. Empowered. Able. Focused.
I saw myself in both women- the mom serving her family, the woman serving herself. The two that tug at me each day.
My thoughts took advantage of the space to wander and I imagined everyone who had paced, sauntered, and trudged through this room before. We’re all here for answers, for help, for someone outside of ourselves to fulfill a need. But we don’t know anything about the people on the other side- the ones we depend on for peace, for healing, for dreams to come true. We wait for news. They tell us what they can. They send us on our way. We put our faith in them but we do not know them.
I have been in a waiting room for the past few years. In my time there, I learned to temper my expectations, to stop fidgeting, to stop forcing, to stop compromising, to be patient, and to trust. News will come. Some as obstacles, some as adventures. But not the full story. A door will open to reveal only another small room. Direction will come. But I have to bring the work. And even when I feel like I have finally done enough work, that surely I don’t belong back in the waiting room again and I turn the knob for the next door in my path, I am still led back to this room. This room of stillness. I am restless and fervent. And still I wait.
All this waiting doesn’t fit into a world of now. And that is exactly where I want to be- answering the call, handling what I can, handing over the rest to the One who does- in stillness and trust, misunderstood by the world. So when it feels like I can’t possibly function split in two and I question whether or not I am capable of folding bits and pieces into each other to create something whole, I remember Christ has made me complete. And that’s when He shows up and says, “It’s time to tell other people’s stories too.” I have been offered a paying job to write stories of transformation, to raise up quiet voices, to show the world that our wildest dreams are weak. It’s something I would never think to expect and a job I would do for free. And luck had nothing to do with it. God is good.
So wherever you are today- your sight obstructed, your life interrupted, your answers still en route- I see you. I know you. And I know you’re right where you’re supposed to be. I hope when I head back to the waiting room for my next visit that I either see you there or find a note from you- that it’s happened and I’ll see you…sometime.
“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
“In all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:6
“And you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.” Colossians 2:10