Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I don’t know about you, but I don’t like waiting. I don’t believe I’m alone in our culture of “I want everything NOW.”

A few days ago, I got stuck in traffic on the Hutchison River Parkway. There must have been an accident of some kind ahead and, instead of being concerned about the health of the accident victims, I thought about how much this was inconveniencing me! I was worried about being late to teach my world religions class.

Here I was moving at 5 MPH with no end to the traffic in sight. I was frustrated and anxious that I might be stuck for a long time. Then I began to reflect on why I was so upset at being stuck in traffic. The answer hit me like a revelation from on high: I wasn’t in control.

Yet, once I recognized that, no matter what I did, I couldn’t get to my destination any faster I started to relax a little. My frustration and anxiety diminished. My heart rate went down and I shifted my thoughts to the lecture I was going to give when I arrived.

So much of our time is spent in waiting. We certainly wait when driving. There are stop signs, traffic lights and traffic jams. We wait in lines at the grocery store and hardware store. Doctor’s are so notorious for making us wait that they call their lobby’s “waiting rooms.”

In a way, we’re always waiting for something or someone. When I was in college, I read Samuel Beckett’s classic play, “Waiting for Godot.” It’s a two act play that takes place over two days. Two sets of characters are waiting for someone named Godot to arrive. Of course, Godot never comes. I think that one of the things Beckett was saying is that life involves perpetual waiting.

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