Updated: Jun 21
My Dad is 88 this year. Recently, he has many health problems. Fell twice in a week. Hospitalised for excessive diarrhea. He was on-drip due to dehydration and was dealing with a mild fever. This wasn't the first time my Dad was sick. He has been admitted into the hospital several times the past one year. Hearing these news from Hanoi make me want to rush home.
Wait!. There are travel restrictions, quarantine and social distancing measures.
Waiting is difficult.
My daughter, Grace when she was 5 couldn't wait to be 10. Now that she is 23, she can't wait to start a career in occupational therapy.
My wife and I have not seen Grace for almost 2 years. We can't wait to have her home with us and to cuddle together, share stories, and eat potato chips while watching Korean dramas late into the night.
Why is waiting so difficult?
Some of us can't wait to grow up. Others can't wait to see a loved one. Still, others can't wait to get on a plane and go for a desperately needed holiday. What are you waiting for?
But I am talking about a different kind of waiting. It's about the space between leaving and arriving. No. Not a physical space but a spiritual one. The space between letting go and holding on. Between clarity and uncertainty. Between sobriety and drunkenness. The space between "I know it all" and "I don't know". Between faith and doubt, joy and grief, vision and disillusionment.
Biblical stories recorded many accounts of waiting. Abraham and Sarah waited 25 years for the fulfillment of God’s promise. Noah took around 55 to 75 years to build the ark. Jacob waited 14 years to marry Rachel. The Israelites waited 430 years for their deliverance. Then, there was the 400 years of silence when God did not speak to the Jewish people.
I wonder what conversations Abraham had with himself. How Sarah might have felt for being barren? How did Noah 'counsel' himself when faced with ridicule? What was it like to suffer slavery for generations? Maybe, the hardest for those of us who see ourselves as spiritual is to not be able to hear God for a moment, not to mention four centuries of silence.
Waiting is uncomfortable and counter-intuitive. I rather run and rush off to fix what is broken. I distract myself with more engagements so that the waiting is "not wasted". I attend more seminars and conferences hoping to gain more insights. In my fervent prayers, I wittingly turn my God into gods that do things at my biddings.
Yet, I observed that waiting, in Biblical stories are liken to latent heat in physics. It is a prolonged time of energy taken in to initiate a transformational process, the same-same yet not the same state, waiting for ice to turn to water or water to turn to vapour. To the prehistoric mind, it's magic. A miracle.
Waiting does miracles. It evokes a prolonged sense of desolation but not desolation itself. If carefully mined, it produces a wealth of resources that teleports you to a new dimension of existence, a new way to see yourself and others, a new way to approach life. A new way to relate with the created and the Creator.
Confusing? Let me confuse you further. If you have been struggling and waiting for an answer, or seeking clarity, desiring healing, yearning for meaning. If you think you have been waiting for too long. Wait longer. Don't rush time.
Isaiah, a prophet of old reminds me, "I will give you the treasures of darkness. And hidden wealth of secret places, So that you may know that it is I, The Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name."