Waiting is Hard: Forty Years Later
I began writing this column a year ago. Yeah, some things take a while. But it’s interesting the perspective a year brings.
Forty years ago this May I was still in the Big Wait. I thought our wedding day would never come.
At this time last year we had an interim pastor at our church; I’ve written some about that. Our pastor had preached a sermon on waiting—very fitting for the place we were as a congregation. She read the passage about how Jesus, after his resurrection, told the disciples to go to Jerusalem and wait for him. But they weren’t told what to do, how long they were to wait there, or what would happen if they waited. As a congregation, we were getting very tired of the in-between phase and unknowns without a permanent pastor. In June we finally put a search committee in place for a new pastor. We found her sooner than expected! That wait was over.
A year ago my daughter had a friend who, with her husband, was very anxiously awaiting the birth of their first child. That. Is. Hard. You’re apprehensive and uncomfortable but also scared witless, pretty much. You say you “can’t wait,” but that is truly the only thing you can do until the baby comes or you pass your due date and they induce, or some other difficulty crops up.
Now, I’m happy to say, this small family is thriving, and it’s been fun to watch, via Facebook, that little girl go through her first year—from almost her first breath. This couple enjoys sharing all their little triumphs and disasters online because his relatives live in far-off New Zealand. They wait and long for in-person visits, which are few and far between.
Parenting young children reminds me that waiting is very hard for them. My youngest daughter especially hated waiting to be picked up from preschool. One day she pleaded, “Don’t be last picking me up today.” I told her, “I’ll try.”
I had great intentions, but you can guess what happened. I got busy at work and all of a sudden I had no more than 10 minutes to get to her preschool—and it was a 10-minute drive (on a good day). I rushed and likely speeded and finally blew into the door. Luckily, there was one other parent and child still there. Whew. I was not last. Little Doreen wasn’t happy with me, but she wasn’t crying—and I know she was very relieved to see me.
But the real reason for writing these reflections on waiting is that 40 years ago this May I was still in the Big Wait. I thought our wedding day, May 29, would never come. Of course it did, and now here we are 40 years later and on the cusp of an early retirement for my husband—a day that he thought would never come, either.
As I reflect on these 40 years, I am unbelievably grateful for my husband and what he has not put me through. That may be a weird way of expressing my appreciation, but as I watch culture around me and see so many, many men whom I thought were “good” and loyal husbands, who not only cheated on their wives but also abused or manipulated or endangered others, I feel very blessed. My husband is not afflicted with addictions (well, unless you call a fondness for too many old things an addiction, or a tendency to keep things too long “in case I need them someday.”) But hey. He is my loyal cheerleader and friend. He does not gamble or even play the lottery. He is not overly greedy. He can be trusted to tell the truth and has proved to be a thoughtful and valuable mentor to other young men. He especially loved my father and would tell you he learned many things from Dad. He goes to church and is a faithful Christian. He has been a loving father and grandfather who is still learning more about little ones—not only in raising his own daughters, but his grandkids as well. He is far from perfect, but then, neither am I perfect.
I went through a lot of boyfriends to find my husband (that was back in the day when people actually dated). All I can say is the timing or the guy or the relationship was never quite right. With Stuart, everything came together, and after he proposed the second time, I decided I wouldn’t make him propose a third.
I don’t have to tell you (to quote author Charlotte Bronte): “Reader, I married him.” And I’m forever glad I did!
For my free booklet on marriage, just the right size to slip into a wedding card, ask for “Secrets of Long Marriage: The Six C’s of Marriage.” Send your request to MelodieD@MennoMedia.org or Another Way, 1251 Virginia Avenue, Harrisonburg, VA 22802.