Sometimes, it seems like my 30’s have been mostly about waiting.
Waiting for Mr. Right. Waiting for my career to take off. Waiting for the right time to buy a new home. Waiting for children. I’ve been in a constant state of “on hold” for the past eight years, at least.
Everyone around me has lots of wisdom to share: I should focus on the present. I should let go and quit worrying. Let it happen. Relax.
None of that changes this one simple fact: Waiting is hard. In fact, it’s brutal. This weekend, instead of condemnation in the shape of advice, I found sympathy and understanding – right where I wasn’t looking for it. I was at church, listening to a sermon about the parable of the ten bridesmaids.
The story is this: Ten bridesmaids each brought a lamp to a party, planning to wait up for the bridegroom. It turned out to be a long wait, and they all fell asleep. In the end, the bridegroom showed up, everyone woke up, and the wise bridesmaids were the ones who had brought extra oil for a longer than expected wait.
The sermon wasn’t about waiting – not directly, anyway. Yet even as the pastor spoke about spiritual reserves, I found myself thinking in a slightly different direction.
I recognized the bridesmaids’ exhaustion, after waiting beyond their physical capacity.
I recognized the need for backup supplies, emotional or tangible, and for naps.
I don’t think it is coincidence that the story is about women – women waiting, dropping with exhaustion, running low on reserves. This is a real thing – real enough for a parable then, and still real today. Waiting is something we all have to struggle with eventually. It’s not a unique or individual failing on my part.
Do you struggle with waiting?
Photo courtesy Andrew Bartram – license