Many of us spend the time of our lives waiting. We wait to be born. And from my experience in hospice care, I have seen many wait to die.
How are you spending the time of your life? I’ve asked this question before.
I know that I have spent much of my time...
Waiting for a love letter.
Waiting for a scholarship.
Waiting inside of a hospital deep in prayer.
Waiting for a doctor to call me back while I was silently, yet admittedly, truly frightened.
Waiting for a loved one.
Waiting while a loved one was dying and a labored breath was my only lifeline.
But what does it really mean to wait?
To remain in a state of repose until something unexpected happens. To be available or in readiness. To postpone or delay in expectation. To attend upon or escort especially as a sign of respect. In the theater, it is considered the time between two acts, scenes or the like.
Until something unexpected happens. That something “unexpected” is usually something we are expecting, isn’t it? To be available. Yes. The sign of the Yogin. The act of love. The devotional act. To attend upon, the looking after and regarding of the other. And the pause between. The moment of dropping in.
I have spoken about the fact that I am waiting right now in a whole new way. I am sitting inside of a long “pause.” When you love a person deeply, it is important to begin to listen to his/her pauses. To try to understand the meanings inside of each of them. To be able to sit in the pauses with that person without needing or asking for something else.
In music, musicians must learn how to “play the pauses.” Soulfully.
It is like this with a dying person. The silences are magical and packed with meaning. If you can accompany them there. They can change the trajectory of your life. If you let them. If you wait... to be ushered into this silence.
I am listening.
Sometimes I hear “hurry up!” And I know for sure that is not “waiting.” That is impetuousness. Nothing can be learned from inside of that place.
There are countless stories of great loves which have survived against incredible odds, through wars and illness and natural disasters and pain which seems insurmountable when it is recounted to me. Yet, when my character is put to the test, I have seen what I am made of.
I could speak about all of the personal ways in which I have waited. How I have waited for years and decades because of love and faith and endurance. But those references still need to go on living inside of me in quiet ways in order to be given the honor I owe them. I cannot turn them into anecdotes for the sake of making a reference here or there. What I can say is that as I look ahead, I know that I have a resilience inside of me which I have come to rely upon. And if my Beloved and I had to be separated for a year or two due to circumstances unfathomable or unforeseen, that I wouldn’t fall apart because my history has given me an intimate window into who I am and what I am capable of.
So my perspective has changed regarding time. Who am I to say that a year is a long time to be off the mat (or fill in the pertinent blank...)?
If my time is up tomorrow, well, then, the time may have felt like a long time, perhaps.
But I believe that my job now is to have faith in the unexpected. To be ready for all of it. With compassion. With surrender. With kindness. With tenderness. And with love.
That’s the state of repose I wish to find.
Even if it requires a bit of waiting.