Thursday, October 26, 2017

“It is very strange that the years teach us patience – that the shorter our time, the greater our capacity for waiting.”

~ Elizabeth Taylor, A Wreath of Roses

When I finally left the hospital yesterday afternoon at five o’clock I was informed that I would be legally impaired for the next twenty-four hours. So, if today’s post seems wonky that explains it. (Just kidding, I feel fine, even if legally unable to drive and advised not to turn on my oven (!) today.)

Things were backed up at the hospital yesterday. I gleaned that something in the ER called my doctor, and maybe others, away, resulting in the backlog. Whatever the reason there was a long wait for a relatively short procedure. As I lay on the stretcher waiting, I pondered the art of just that: waiting.

I wondered how I might have responded to the delay during my working years, and recalled one fateful day when I was admitted to the hospital with chest pain even as I begged my husband to go and retrieve my laptop so I could work (he refused).

I remembered another early morning at physio when I was wrapped up in something meant to ease the pain and tension in my neck and shoulders, my therapist talking to me about stress, and me thinking about where we were on the project plan and what needed to get done that day.

Yeah. Waiting wasn’t easy for me back then.

Yesterday, I observed a young man grow restless and ask a nurse to retrieve his phone which then occupied him until it was his turn (full disclosure: I might have done the same had Gerry not taken my purse and cell phone with him). I watched a woman, older than me, sit up and get the attention of a nurse and ask how much longer she would have to wait. I watched a young woman arrive, and be taken for her procedure almost immediately (apparently her doctor wasn’t in emerg) leaving me slightly and silently frustrated.

Mostly, I gave myself the gift of a wandering mind. Once we realize we’re in for the long haul and there’s nothing to be done about it we face a choice: impatience or resignation and rest. I chose the latter and it was good. We’ve lost an appreciation for doing nothing in the fast paced have-it-all-and-have-it-now life in the twenty-first century.

I don’t advocate medical procedures with long wait times as the solution but, when faced with an opportunity to rest, observe, and engage in some mind-wandering, I’m going to do my best to embrace it in the future.

What came next for me wasn’t a walk in the park but afterward I did see that herd of red gazelles wandering through the recovery room, so there’s that. I left the hospital gingerly and dopey holding on to Gerry’s arm. At home, I enjoyed the best tasting, and most refreshing, tall glass of cold water I’ve ever had and a slice of the most delicious chicken Alfredo pizza known to man. Then I slept.

This morning my legally-impaired self is enjoying a cup of coffee, pondering the day of forced houseboundedness (I know, not a word. I’m legally impaired though, so it’s allowed), and wondering what kind of shenanigans I can find to get into around here.

Also hoping that herd of red gazelles didn’t follow me home.


I’m a writer, reader, and creative. I thought by now I’d have things figured out, but I keep coming up with more questions. I think that’s okay. I’m here most mornings pondering ordinary things and the thin places where faith intersects.
  1. I hope you are well – after whatever procedure. I am impatient. I don’t like waiting. I don’t like waiting when I’m early for a meeting and others are late. I don’t like waiting for lights to turn green. I don’t like waiting in line – any line, medical or otherwise. But you put a good spin on it. I do often talk to strangers in lines (that’s a plus, right?). I am happy to do “nothing.” And by nothing I mean laying around all day on Saturday and doing nothing but read and watch silly tv. So while my years are are the down slide, I’ll try to remember that any wait time is a good time to reflect.

    1. Thank you, Karen, I am well. Waiting is a challenge for many of us, I think. I’ve also come to believe that how we experience much of our life is greatly dependent on our frame of mind. Patience can be challenging but, for me, it’s the better path and I try to take it. I’m not always successful. 🙂

  2. I am impatient by nature. Very hard for me to stand or sit and wait for ‘my turn’. I absolutely hate it when someone that I am waiting for is late. However, it seems that in this ‘fast paced’ world in which we find ourselves, waiting is becoming a part of our lives. Didn’t used to be that way…I think there is a scripture that says something like “He also serves who only stands and waits…” Like you say we can use those times when we are waiting to find our calm inner place where there is no busyness and to find our inner peace – however deep that place might be.

    1. Waiting for someone who is chronically late is crazy-making for me too, Ruth.

      The quote you mention is actually from John Milton’s poem “On His Blindness” although, as Christians, we are certainly counselled to wait.

      1. Ooops – you are right of course…I should know better than to try to quote versus to you! (tee hee).

  3. Hope all is well! Take care!

    1. All is well, Paige. Thank you.

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