Patience isn’t the virtue of most, including yours truly. And after a study into (NASV) Psalm 90:10, 12 “As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years or if due to strength, eighty years. So teach us to number our days that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom.” When teaching time management seminars, I share with others that if we are given 70 years to live, we will live 25,550 days. If we sleep 6 hours (for easy computation) a night we will have used up 6,387 days, leaving us with 19,161 days in which to use our time wisely. That interestingly low number is countable … and sobering.
Being a very aware of this gift of time, I don’t want to waste what I’m given, so I generally have a plan going on in my type A mind and have several ways planned to see it through in my type A personality. I recognize myself as an oak: strong, directional, and firmly grounded (for the most part). Waiting isn’t something I really like to do. I even plan my errands in a way that gets me out early in the day, gets me going in one direction, circling around town making all right hand turns (until heading home), avoiding lines, minimizing times at each location because I’ve maximized knowing their slow and busy times, and doing what I can to put 10-12 errands in a ½ days’ time. I can do it. Unless…
…life happens and this old oak has to become a willow.
Waiting happens constantly and consistently to those of us with special-needs (young and adult) children. Something in me would love to have a pedometer of “wait time” to see (like how many steps I take on my real pedometer) how much time I really wait on a moment to moment, daily, monthly, yearly, and (gulp) lifetime basis. However, the time manager in me is glad I don’t monitor that, because I’d probably be frustrated. And the reality is this: I think the “waiting” is often a gift we miss.
Perhaps I’ve learned best how to wait by observing the countless ways my son must “wait.” He waits for:
• His meals to be cooked.
• All of us to finish eating dinner (he is a vacuum!)
• Us while we’re talking to others; patiently (most of the time!)
• Us if we’re shopping and trying on clothes, etc.
• Others to figure out travel plans and other details he simply could not do.
• His ride (us) to pick him up after work.
• His shoes to be tied (and will sit sometimes for 10 minutes – no fussing.)
• And countless other things with seldom a complaint.
As he learned to wait in little increments as a young child, he’s grown into a young man who can wait quite well. (We realize not all those with special needs will be able to accomplish this, but it’s well worth the training to try!)
As his parents we have waited in many (and certainly others have us beat!) doctors, therapies, school, counseling, etc. offices to have our child tested, prodded, poked, taught, worked on, comforted, and well, the list goes on. Those times of waiting, sometimes long and frustrating, have also been times of:
• Conversation with my child and my other children
• Getting to meet other parents and family members of ones with special needs
• Listening to others’ hardships and not bringing up mine
• Encouraging another who needs it because we’ve been through it and lived!
• Contemplation on so many things:
o What if this was never our journey?
o Why did it have to be our journey?
o How could we change this journey?
o Why did God allow this journey?
o Will we be found faithful in completing this journey well?
So many things happen in the waiting room of life.
While waiting will probably never be a welcomed or desired necessity, there are gifts in the waiting. But wait! Sometimes we have to look for them!
Dr. Joe and Cindi Ferrini are authors, speakers, and bloggers for several blogging sites on family and special needs. They speak nationally for FamilyLife Weekend To Remember Marriage Get-a-Ways, authored Unexpected Journey – When Special Needs Change our Course, and have been interviewed on Focus on the Family, FamilyLife, and various other radio and television venues. Connect with them at www.cindiferrini.com and social media at: www.facebook.com/cindi.ferrini, www.facebook.com/UnexpectedJourney/, www.facebook.com/MyMarriageMatters/