Tonight, on this first night of summer, I write this post while sitting in a wicker chair on my front porch. I listen to the sound of water trickling down the ribbed sides of our pottery fountain. Birds are flitting back and forth in the early evening light. Parents pass with school-age children riding bikes and skateboards. Couples go by walking their dogs. It’s a quiet Friday night.
I kept my 13-month-old grandson Baker today. Except for the two hours he napped, he was ‘wide open,’ a busy boy. That was time well spent, and now I sit and rest in the quiet. I’ve wondered what I’d write about in this post. For the past weeks, I’ve had stories of my Outer Banks solo journey. But I squeezed everything I could out of that trip. And now, the one thing that I’m most aware of are periods in our lives that are seasons of waiting.
That applies whether you’re waiting in expectation of things that are known– like an upcoming wedding, or in a time of uncertainty- like waiting to hear from a job or from test results; waiting is an expanse of time that you can’t just jump over and get to the time of relief.
The only way is through.
For me, when I’m waiting and focused on jumping ahead to the relief, moments seem to last for hours, and the hours drag on for what seems like a day. I feel restless like I need to do something– hoping to speed up the process, trying to change things. And the truth is, I can’t. I have to wait and move only as the flow of that time allows.
Years ago, when I was struggling with being overwhelmed by work, family, and volunteer commitments, I prayed about what to do. The only answer that came to me was Psalm 46:10 (NIV):
“Be Still and Know That I’m God.”
In examining that verse, just from a layman’s point of view, it had what I needed for the situation; a directive, to BE still which said that being was enough I didn’t have to DO anything; an assurance that I would Know, letting go of anxiety and doubt, that God is the I AM and ultimately in control of my situation.
I think that Psalm has the direction I need now for my season of waiting.
In the summer of 2016, I went on my solo journey to Kentucky and spent 2 weeks at an artist residency. When I arrived, I was surprised to learn that I would be the only one there in that rural setting. At first, I didn’t think I could handle the quiet, being there alone with 2 weeks stretched before me. Some of that felt like a season of waiting because it was an uncertain environment and the unknown of doing an artist residency.
Walking the mile road that crossed the property at sunset, I was stilled by the beauty of those Kentucky hills. I let myself accept the silence as a gift and to learn to be in the rhythm of that time and place.
Looking back, I see that without the stillness I wouldn’t have been able to rewrite my memoir that I published in April. Now, I realize how being the lone artist, without the distraction of others, served me.
The symbol that represented that ‘season’ in Kentucky was a thistle plant. They were so large and abundant by the road. That simple weed, had a beautiful form with a striking purple bloom.
Now it’s getting close to sunset on this longest day of sunlight in the year. Sitting by the fountain, I pray for all of us who are in a season of waiting. May we find peace in being still and letting go of the anxiety of what will happen next. May we find assurance in faith that one day we’ll look back and see its purpose, how God had used this time in our lives.
How about You?
How do you handle seasons of waiting?
What helps you to allow for that period of uncertainty in your life?