Waiting is life in the meantime. While we have quiet, secure seasons of joy and peace, most of life is “in the meantime.” The meantime is a cold place that howls with winds of uncertainty and doubt. Perhaps an illness threatens. Addictions rupture families. Job loss catapults a family toward homelessness. Divorce. Death. Time freezes and vision truncates.
But the meantime is not life on hold or serving a punitive time out (although it usually feels like it). There are many components–daily, I see more. Of these two, I am most sure: Expectancy and Mystery.
Expectancy: My definition of expectancy is to look at the world in wonder. Where will God reveal Himself today? Perhaps He will break my heart with compassion for someone I previously treated with nonchalant indifference. Maybe on a cold winter night a Chinook tousles my hair, and I am reminded that after the cold and earthquake–after the mighty wind and fire there comes a gentle blowing (I Kings 19:11-12). Perhaps it is hospitality as when, in the home of a Muslim family from Saudi Arabia, I finally found welcome, honest dialogue, and laughter to contrast to the years of closed doors and suspicion of a mean-hearted, small town. Waiting is bearable with an open and expectant heart.
Expectancy is not the same as expectations. Unrealistic expectations spoil the view, ruin a day–a life. They cause us to manipulate and tempt us to control; they estrange us from fellow humans at global and personal levels, and we are disappointed when our expectations are not fulfilled. We overreact–fights erupt over how the toilet paper hangs or where to squeeze the toothpaste tube. Joyful days–whether ordinary or special–crumble to the fantasy of our expectations of what they are supposed to be.
Mystery: The awareness of mystery is the acknowledgment that the frozen ground of winter contains a riot of summer color. Movement and stirrings exist beneath numbing cold. Rhizomic roots spread farther and deeper than our limited imaginings. Two years of uncertain employment–downsizing and a shifting of company vision might result in a new department–a new job that in turn allows the creation of more new jobs–new hope and provision for many. No Google search or special lens reveal sexactly what is taking place, but in the realm of Mystery that a deep and abiding work is forming.
Waiting with Expectancy and awareness of Mystery allows us to see the promise. Against the silence, a baby’s cry. Against the night, a star.