The Waiting Place

In Dr. Seuss’ classic “Oh the places you’ll go” there is a moment when the narrator explains that in life there will be times that we will arrive at the waiting place. As he describes this place you as reader or listener begin to feel the restlessness of the location creeping in all around you. Your only course of action is to get through this part of the story quickly to move forward with the action, the part where we overcome and conquer the waiting place. In fact the narrator encourages us to do just that, break free, step out, be proactive. There is a lot to be said about getting oneself unstuck and pressing on. However, a note of caution enters the mind. This point of view is saying that all waiting is useless and therefore the sooner you pass through it the better.

Unfortunately, that is simply not true. Of course I did not wake up this morning and think you know I am going to pick a fight with a children’s book. In deed that is not my attempt here at all, for I love reading these stories to my children. I am struck by the number of times that I have been in the waiting place and despite my best efforts I was not able to escape by my own plans and efforts. At the time I did view it as a wasted moment and hoped and prayed for that season of my life to pass quickly so that I could get on with real living. What I found was that there is life to be lived within the waiting place and certainly there are lessons to be learned. In the waiting place there is space to take stock of what is of greatest importance in our lives, to consider how we arrived at this place, and what we might do differently if/when given another opportunity.

We do not wait well and really who can blame us. With each new gadget that we pay extremely large amounts of cash for there is a newer model that is released within 2 years or less. Change is happening so rapidly all around us that if we encounter something that is traveling at the speed of life (where seasons change when they change without provocation by anyone or thing) then we get ance and wonder where the escape route is so that we can get on with the excitement. Ultimately I am concerned that if we maintain this consumer rapid change culture approach to life we will lose ourselves completely. No time to reflect, no time to pause, no time, because we killed the waiting place.

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