Here I am, sitting on my sofa after a long day with the boys. Wanting to write something deeply profound to join in the lovely Tanya Marlow’s synchroblog thing about waiting, in honour of her new book launching this week.
Here I am. The wine is waiting for me to drink it. Husbandface is waiting for me to come upstairs with chocolate. I am waiting to watch some Big Bang Theory before our eyes shut and we give into sleep. I am waiting for son2 to wake up and crawl his way into our bed to spend the night on my face again. Waiting.
‘Those who wait’ is a brilliant book, you should buy a copy now and several for your friends. If we had slightly more disposable income this month that is what I would be doing instead of instructing you to. It’s a book about waiting but about so much more. It has amazing retelling of Bible stories from the perspective of Sarah, Isaiah, John the Baptist and Mary. It has incredibly moving benedictions and prayers. It has creative exercises that you actually want to do instead of just reading and feeling vaguely guilty about moving on to the next part of the book (as with most ‘creative’ exercises in books I’ve read). It has group discussion questions that sound like you might want to use them. It has 24 chapters for the season of Advent. It even has detailed historical notes on the background behind the stories. It’s a beautiful thing.
You should buy it because it speaks to the universal experience of waiting. There is no-one alive who has not had to wait for something. Waiting is a mixed bag, it can be hard and weird, joyous and crazy, full of anticipation or full of dread and fear. Waiting can feel like limbo floating or eager desiring joy, or both things at different points of the day.
We find ourselves in the mad limbo of waiting at the moment. Husbandface is still sick, there is no nice neat chronological timeline for his recovery. It sucks. Life feels on hold and yet time moves relentlessly forward, the boys grow, we have to get through each day, head down, moving forward. But the bigger picture of what this life is all about seems to have got lost in the never ending question of when will this end? Will it ever end? What will happen about jobs? What will happen when the money runs out? What will happen if this never changes? We wait but we don’t really know what we are waiting for.
It’s not like the pregnancy waiting of expectation and fear of the unknown. It’s not like the short term waiting on a job interview result. It feels a bit like the waiting for son1 to sleep through the night, a mythical future we could only dream of until one day it happened, just like that. But even that felt more concrete than this waiting world we live in. It’s not a world devoid of joy, there are moments of wonder, moments to embrace, but it does feel like sitting around in a room deeply confused as to why the doors aren’t open, or where, indeed, the doors have gone.
It’s too easy to look at others and think that they are handling waiting so much better, to worry about the ways we are handling waiting, if only we could get the faith together to believe God was involved in all of this, maybe that would turn the magic key to make this all better. In some senses then it’s like the odd waiting that I did when I was single. I was waiting for a husband somewhere in my subconscious but I was deeply aware that this was not like waiting for a bus. This was waiting for a possible future, a potential future, a future that might not happen at all. It was a waiting and not waiting all at the same time. In some ways we wait for husbandface to get better and in some ways we are not waiting for that at all. In this bizarre waiting we must get on with life, we must still live and breathe and love and hope in the right now in front of our eyes. We have nothing else, no certainty to cling to.
Maybe we aren’t in a room at all, but rather walking along a fog drenched path. We see what is in front of our eyes. We walk on, step by step, we put one foot in front of the other and we desperately cling to each other and our boys. Maybe the sun will come again, maybe it won’t. But the path still takes us on, to fog drenched towns, and people and places to live in and love in. Sometimes the sun shines through and we can taste hope clear. Sometimes it doesn’t. We are waiting for a maybe. We are walking on in the waiting and trying to make the best. We are waiting for the ultimate sunny day because that one is f**king certain and this life is so utterly crap at times that we need to cling to the future that has hope and sure solid clear blue sky in it. That future which will usher in a new kind of life for us all. That future which works backwards here and says that the weird waiting is worth it.
Here I am. Stream of consciousness on waiting over with. Go read Tanya’s book. It made me cry on public transport because it was so freeing to read tender words from one who knows what it’s like to live in an uncertain waiting world.
The waiting for the wine is over.
One day that will finally be true.
The holidays might just begin sometime soon…
‘This is part of the synchroblog on waiting, to celebrate the release of Those Who Wait: Finding God in Disappointment, Doubt and Delay by Tanya Marlow – out now. See more here and link up to the synchroblog here.’