Among the Oxford Language definitions for the word wait is: “used to indicate that one is eagerly impatient to do something or for something to happen.”
‘Eagerness’ and ‘impatient’ are not two words that I often associate with one another. For me the word eager implies happiness and joy, while the word impatient implies disgust, worry, and/or anxiety. Putting these words together seems like an oxymoron.
My father and I often joke about his helping me with my math homework as a child, particularly word problems. I just did not get it and he was not patient. We can kid about it now, but at that point in time, it was not funny. I think I can honestly say that my dad was not eagerly impatient, waiting for me to understand, he was pretty damn frustrated, as was I.
Depending upon on whom you are voting for, you may feel eagerly impatient.
I have often found myself caught feeling anxious, concerned, and frightened while I wait for November 4th to get here. Do Trump supporters who are afraid of the “radical left” feel those same emotions worrying about Biden winning? Is this why I see campaign signs on FB and in front yards that read “Jesus 2020?” I do not see this slogan on the FB pages or front yards of Democrats, that I know. Does that mean we do not love Jesus like Republicans do? Do Republicans somehow believe Jesus would support Trump or is that their way of saving face in light of voting for a tyrannical twit?
Are Trump supporters as worried as I am about the acrimonious and contentious nature of our divided nation? Do they believe that the feelings of hostility and hatred will just disappear should Trump be re-elected?
As a child, I waited with great anticipation for Christmas wondering what Santa would bring and place under the tree. In high school, I waited for my learners permit to arrive in the mail. When I was a young adult, I could not wait to leave the nest and once married, I could not wait to have children. When my teenage sons began driving themselves, I could not wait for them to come home safe and sound.
Waiting … waiting in long lines at amusement parks, the movie theatre or the grocery store, waiting at the airport for a loved one, waiting for election results, waiting for tests results, waiting to be healed, waiting to die, waiting to live, waiting for universal restoration.
Whether we like it or not, we are in a perpetual state of waiting.
This year in particular appears to be defined by eager or anxious impatience, depending on your perspective, as we wait for a safe and effective COVID vaccine. I personally am having a very difficult time waiting to hug my grandchildren and other beloveds.
What is your state of mind and heart as you wait?
Isaiah 40:31 says:
but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
In the Complete Jewish Bible translation, it reads:
but those who hope in ADONAI will renew their strength,
they will soar aloft as with eagles’ wings;
when they are running they won’t grow weary,
when they are walking they won’t get tired.
Waiting it seems is not a passive activity, but one filled with eager anticipation as the Oxford definition suggests, and one filled with hope.
Waiting with hope, how awesome is that!
It doesn’t mean we will not have doubts or questions. It doesn’t mean we will not act rashly. It doesn’t mean we will get what we want or think we should have. It does mean that we can trust in the One to whom we all belong.
My childhood pet was a dog named Dolly. She was my best friend and definitely a member of the family. When we came home from being out, she would be at the door waiting, dancing around with her tail wagging so hard it looked like it might fly off. This is what I imagine our hope looks like while we wait.
No matter who wins the election, there will still be beloveds sick and dying due to COVID and other diseases. There will still be people who are homeless and unemployed. Fires, hurricanes and earthquakes will continue to rage causing untold damage and destruction. Some things may change because one man is elected to office but it is not about that one man, it’s about us.
The question is not about how you will respond on November 4th, it is about how you are responding now. Do you know who your neighbor is now? What are you doing for your neighbor now?
Yes, we are waiting, but that waiting is being held in the hope of now.
The following quote from Mr. Rogers is our calling: be a helper, now.
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”