Sue Monk Kidd writes “quick and easy are magical words with enormous seductive powers. Advertisers know that if they put them on a product it sells better.” New Year’s resolutions abound with quick and easy approaches. How many times have you seen articles on “quick ways to lose weight”. And for those of you stuck in traffic jams, it’s time you learn about the zipper merge, the key to quick merging.
We are all about efficiency and speed. Kidd illustrates this with her quote “pole vaulting is so much more alluring than crawling.” Yet, are there times when we need to build our skills in the art of waiting?
There are clearly times when choosing the easier, less time consuming approach is best. For example, zipper merges are now being recommended in many congested traffic areas.Yet, they are complicated because of our feelings about the polite vs rude driver label. Does this sound familiar? You are driving along in the center lane on a traffic-filled highway, and the left lane is ending in a few hundred yards, due to construction. Some “polite” drivers in that left lane put their blinkers on right away, and move over as soon as someone lets them in. The “rude” drivers zip to the end of their lane–passing you and many other drivers in the center lane. Then they merge in as soon as they can, effectively cutting in front of you and other center-lane drivers in the process. Growls, fists, and fingers emerge as the “polite” drivers curse the rude drivers. However, in a recent study, the majority of drivers won’t use the zipper approach because they don’t want to be labeled the rude driver.
Efficiency is part of our work and home lives. And, as the zipper lane demonstrates, there are times where perhaps self reflection uncovers something critical about the art of waiting.
Gandhi wrote that “there is more to life than increasing its speed”. Kidd writes in her book When the Heart Waits, “waiting is the in between time. It calls us to be in the moment, this season, without leaning so far into the future that we tear our roots from the present.”
What role does waiting play in your life? What are some things you are waiting for? What is hard to wait for?
As I reflect, my first lesson in waiting was in fishing. Fishing is often about waiting. I remember as a child standing with my father with our fishing poles in hand. We waited for the fish to bite on our hooks. We waited and waited sometimes without one single bite. In those waiting moments we talked about all kinds of things…school, family and friends. In our waiting, we discovered more about each other than we did about fishing. We were in that “in between” space. We’d return home and share that we did not catch one fish. Yet, in the waiting we caught something so much more important.
Where did you learn to wait? How are you developing the art of waiting at home, work and in your community?