When my local post office offered it, I signed up for Informed Delivery. They scan the mail each morning and email the images so you know what’s arriving in your mailbox.
It’s an inexact science; sometimes I get an email saying, “A piece of mail that we do not have an image for is included in today’s mail.” That *usually* means a catalogue, sales flyer, or junk mail, but there have been occasions when I’ve received the “You’ve got Mail! But we have no idea what it is!!!” email and found bills and bank statements in my mailbox.
Sometimes things are inexact on my end too.
The “You’ve got mail!” email showed up later than usual last Monday; I didn’t see it until I checked my phone for messages after my walk. When I opened the email, there appeared to be mail from a certain address that sent a jolt of panic running through me; hearing from them usually requires (expensive) action on my part.
I groused around the house for the rest of the day, worried about what the letter might say, and angry that I had to wait for the mail to show up to know for sure. What I wanted to do was start fixing whatever it was. Immediately.
When the letter arrived, it was not from who I thought it was from, and contained none of the horrible things I’d imagined. It was, in fact, a check.
There are a couple of important life lessons here:
First, I should never try to read the teeny, tiny print on the teeny, tiny screen on my phone without my glasses.
Second, jumping to panic-filled conclusions before you have all of the necessary information is not the best response.
I know that, in my head, but waiting is a hard practice for me. Hardwired for organization, I don’t like loose ends or unfinished anything. I want to get things done, and like Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, I want them done now.
I wondered what the Universe was trying to teach me here, because as I thought about my reaction – or, more accurately, my over-reaction – I noticed waiting is a theme in every area of my life at the moment. I’m waiting (again) to see which tropical disturbances may or may not turn into storms, which may or may not move my direction. I’m waiting to hear from publishers, waiting for the lawn guys, waiting for the window company, waiting for information from the Farm Service Agency, waiting, waiting, waiting.
As I dug deeper into my distaste for waiting, a childhood memory surfaced. I remembered asking for things and being told – for a million good reasons – “we have to wait and see.” Many of those times the answer wound up being “no”. I understand, now, why things happened that way, but as a kid I didn’t get it and what I subconsciously (and erroneously) internalized was “waiting equals no.”
That subconscious script is still running, creating angst and the expectation of a negative experience every time waiting is part of the equation for me. And I’m wondering, because loss and sorrow are lived into one day – sometimes one moment – at a time, and that can feel like waiting, how that script impacted and complicated my grief.
Now that I understand (at least partly) why I suck at waiting, I’m endeavoring to flip that script. I’m trying to wait with intention and a heart open to where the Holy may be present in my waiting, rather than with impatience and frustration. And I’m reminding myself waiting does not equal “no”, and is not time wasted; it is an opportunity for growth and renewal.
It’s a work in progress.
Are you waiting today, Dear Reader? How are you waiting?
“Those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.”
Isaiah 40:31, The Message