Waiting always contains gift. The gift to grow in trust, to let go, to relinquish control.
Our gorgeous 2 year old Yellow Labrador, Moth – have I mentioned her before?! – came into season during these past few weeks. We had been waiting with anticipation for this event as we decided a while ago that we’d like to let her have a litter of puppies. (And yes, I know that can be a controversial topic but that isn’t the subject of this blog).
In readiness for this event, we had an equally gorgeous and very gentle stud called Reggie waiting in the wings to do his bit towards making little Mothlet’s a reality.
So we waited until the suggested optimum time when Moth would be willing to “stand” to let Reggie do his thing. When it came to this window of time – days 11-15 if you’re interested – Reggie suddenly had to go away so into the picture came Paddy, an equally gentle stud willing to offer himself in service. Off Moth went to visit Paddy and yet, no standing on her part, just a desire to play and snapping at him when he attempted to get a little too close. Off went Moth to Paddy (yes he is Irish!) a second time only for a repeat of what had happened the first time. Was her body not ready? Was she just not ready in herself? We wondered whether to wait until her next season and try again or to persevere.
On the verge of deciding to wait until her next season, we decided to get a very simple test carried out that would tell us whether or not she had ovulated. This test told us that she hadn’t but to repeat the test in another 48 hours which we did. This time the test told us that all was coming together and Moth was finally ready to mate!
In the meantime, Reggie returns from his trip and comes to visit Moth. Finally, after some playful exchanges, some flirting and teasing from Moth, a great deal of licking and sniffing from Reggie, the deed happened.
What a whirlwind of emotions, what a process of discernment! Waiting, wondering whether to give up, waiting some more and now having to wait for 5 more weeks before we know if Moth is pregnant.
I don’t like waiting. My default has been impatience. My default is to step in and engineer, control and attempt to get things to go the way I want in the timing I’d like. Waiting leaves me powerless and out of control. Powerless – a word we often view as negative, something we don’t want to experience and yet the invitation in waiting is often to accept our powerless state. Jesus chose powerlessness in every breath as he went from garden to tomb and look what the outcome of that was!
Waiting comes in many forms, we wait for results, a change in circumstances, warmer weather, for the pain of a devastating grief to lessen, we sometimes sense that we’re waiting but we don’t know what for. How many of us, in our waiting, surrender to the powerlessness that waiting contains? What do we do with the frustration, disappointment, anger and impatience that waiting can stir in us?
Then there’s the kind of waiting that becomes a comfort, a place to hide. I’m just waiting for when it feels like the right time but that time never seems to come. I’m waiting until I have enough money. I’m waiting until I feel ready. I’m waiting until my circumstances change. I’m waiting until everything’s lined up as I think it should be before I move forward. This kind of waiting, the kind that eliminates having to trust, that eliminates taking any kind of risk, can keep us trapped in small spaces. This kind of waiting can close the door on the invitations that God brings. This kind of waiting can leave us stuck in an illusion of safety when the door to adventure is open in front of us.
A directee very wisely said this week that there is growth in waiting and she is absolutely right. Waiting always contains gift. The gift to grow in trust, to let go, to relinquish control. Waiting isn’t as passive as it may first appear, it is actively inviting. It offers transformation and growth. It’s a gift that comes to us frequently in small and big ways.
As I now wait to discover whether or not Moth will have puppies, I want to let go, I want to wait with hope and patience accepting my powerlessness and receiving the gift that this waiting offers. In five weeks the answer to this waiting will be here and something new will be happening. Waiting always ends at some point so let’s allow it space to do it’s work in us, even when it’s not something we would choose.