Spirituality for Everyday Life
The Spiritual Practice of Waiting ~
Home with a broken ankle for nearly four weeks, I have had ample time to practice waiting. I have not made a success of this practice.
As I look back, I see that each week has been marked by its own flavor. The first was the week of surgery and its immediate aftermath: Pain. The second, the week of the most unexpected aspect of recovery for me: Fatigue. The third, as folks at both work and home began to wonder whether I would ever pick up my life again and small delays morphed into bigger problems: Confusion. This fourth, as my mind has cleared and I have been able to make plans and move forward: Order. (Of sorts.)
As I have been able to look back and see the haphazard movement of progress and relapse involved in recovery, it has occurred to me that the waiting might have been much easier had I known what to expect. Had my doctor simply said on that first morning as he scheduled surgery for the next day, “Cancel the next month,” I would have known to anticipate what has, in fact, transpired.
And there it is: that all-too-human desire to exert control in all circumstances, even those in which there is no control to be had.
The spirituality of waiting, I see, requires not merely patience, but a willingness to suspend assurance of the future.
“Today, today, today,” said one of the desert fathers.
A difficult practice, indeed.