Waiting has never been one of my best abilities. I can quickly get irritated waiting in the grocery store line or at the DMV or at the doctor’s office. The frustration is often rewarded with unpleasant experiences – paying the cashier or the DMV clerk, hearing the doctor tell you news you did not want to hear – all a part of the process but they don’t contribute to making the waiting easier. Maybe if I got through the check-out line and found that my bill had been paid I wouldn’t mind the wait so much. I don’t like being too early for activities either, I’d rather be right on time so I don’t have to wait…and if I’m going to be late I’d rather not go at all. Me in a nut shell. There are, however, many things in life that we must wait for and it has been proven time and time again that the very best things that this life has to offer are worth the wait they require.
My wife and I started dating in the month of June, 1995 and within a couple weeks we each knew that our lives together had begun. I do believe in love at first sight and I do know that the Lord’s whispers are often louder than His rolling thunder. “She’s the one” was all I needed to hear and a page in my life was turned. Four months later we got engaged and ten months after that we were married and then the preacher said “you may kiss your bride”…it was our first kiss.
Those that know us well know this story. We didn’t make this choice lightly…it wasn’t an easy one, but for us it was the right one and we learned a lot through our waiting that has been a blessing to us for 24 years now. We learned that there are many, many ways that you can show love – a look, a wink, a smile. Holding hands for us became intimate…and still is. We learned how to use conversation to get to know each other and how to share secrets and emotions on a level that few couples find that early in their relationship. It wasn’t an easy courtship, but we each had great friends that we could lean on when we needed to and the grace of a loving God that was teaching us lessons that we could not have learned any other way.
We’ve looked back on that time often through the years and have realized some of the whys. Within our first four years of marriage we had two kids and those of us with babies and toddlers know that they can really put an end to alone time. I had a bout with lung cancer for two years and 3 surgeries that all came with recovery times which sidelined intimacy as well (15 years and still cancer free!). Busy work schedules, mixing night and day and afternoon shifts, leaves little time to focus on each other. We’ve had all of these and more to deal with in our 24 years, and if we hadn’t begun our relationship learning to understand each other apart from the physical, I don’t know how we would have made it through.
Life is full of waiting – even in these days when whatever we want is expected to be just a click away, we still find ourselves in a line somewhere or in a stuck on hold in a phone or chat cue or jammed in traffic. While it seems there is so little time in the day, we look at these waits more as frustrations rather than little breaks from the chaos. The wait does not have to be wasted. There are things that we can accomplish and learn if we’re willing to wait. Look for beauty in your surroundings, strike up a conversation, meditate on a verse, think deeper thoughts, or simply breathe; whatever it is, use the time you’ve been given. You won’t get it back later when you really wish you had a few extra minutes.