Do You Believe The Best Things Come to Those Who Wait? - Forever We
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Do You Believe The Best Things Come to Those Who Wait?

Do You Believe The Best Things Come to Those Who Wait?

Imagination flourishes in the in-between.

It’s a magical time when anything can be.

If you can dream it, you can do it.
The best things come to those who wait.
Ah, and patience is a virtue.

These are the clichés we all know by heart.

But the reality is that waiting can be hard.

Right this very minute, I’m dreaming of a beach vacation that’s still five months away. Just thinking about the sun on my face brings a smile to my lips. Despite the frigid temps lurking just outside my door today, I’m imagining the sand between my toes, warm waves lapping at my feet. Hopeful anticipation brings light to my soul.

Our family has been going to the same resort town for more than a decade. One year, it rained almost the entire time. Not only that, but one of my kids came down with a weird infection that involved the daily washing of sheets. Another child, deep in the throes of potty training, tortured us all with her frantic, immediate urges and one child suffered a short, but potent bout of food poisoning.

Sounds terrible, right?

The best part of that trip was definitely the months I spent looking forward to it.

We didn’t take many family vacations when I was a kid, so instead of dreaming about island getaways, I fantasized about what was for dinner and the cartoons I was going to record on my VCR on Saturday mornings. These things came and went like clockwork.

Then I grew up, and I was responsible for making my own dinner and “working for the weekend” adopted new meaning. I began waiting for things like “the one” and tuning my ear to “my calling,” and both of those things seemed very big and grownup and kind of scary. But kind of fun too.

Waiting suddenly seemed like more than just ticking off the minutes on my bedside clock. My soul carried the full weight of an unknown future. It was a future bright with possibility.

But I was young and there’s a lot of grace when you’re just starting out on your own and trying to figure things out. “You’ve got time,” everybody said.

And I did.

But now I’m 40, and everybody kind of already assumes I have it all figured out, so being thrust into the throes of waiting causes a knee-jerk reaction to—how should I say this—PANIC.

Time is not on my side.

But I don’t want to wallow in the wait. Although waiting is hard, waiting can also be good.

What if I anticipated what’s next in my life with the same expectant joy I approach my summer vacation? What if the waiting was the best part of what’s next?

Just because I have to be patient doesn’t mean I’m paralyzed.

June will be here before I know it. And my dreams aren’t passive. We’re saving up for this trip. I’m exercising everyday to prepare my body for swimsuit season. The kids are looking at the floor plan of the house where we’ll stay and negotiating the logistics of who’s sleeping where. This is the vacation I anticipate all year, so when June finally rolls around I want to be ready.

One week at the beach is a very small thing compared to that next big career step or decision to abandon what’s comfortable to do something other people might think is crazy. The tension of the in-between is an important time of preparation.

It can also be a time of hopeful anticipation.

I’m reminded of a verse in Zechariah, which brings me great comfort, even though these words were not said directly to me: “Do not despise this small beginning, for the eyes of the Lord rejoice to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel (Zechariah 4:10).” Indeed, these are the days that will prepare us for a new day.

If we could re-frame what it means to wait, how would that change our attitude in the midst of it? Would we be better equipped to accept what comes, whether it’s what we want or simply what’s next? Could we learn to embrace the in-between?

Everybody I know is either waiting on something or waiting for something. Perhaps, like me, you’re hopeful of a new day. Or maybe you’re overwhelmed with a terrible, soul-crushing pain you think will never end. Maybe you feel hopeless about what’s next. Maybe you’re ambivalent because the wait has been longer than you anticipated, and you’re just…tired. You feel like there’s somebody on the other end of an invisible phone cord saying,

“Thank you for your patience. Please stay on the line. Your call is very important to me.”

You’re frustrated because right now seems so much better than five months from now.

Or five years from now.

Or five decades from now.

But if we got everything we wanted right now, we’d miss all that growth that comes from working hard in the midst of what’s in the middle—what’s between the before and after.

“Thank you for your patience. Please stay on the line. Your call is very important to me.”

Stay the course.

Wouldn’t you love to be able to one day say,

THIS was worth the wait.”