The banter in my brain on replay is a short excerpt from a bedtime story I read to my child: “I hate to wait, I don’t care how. I want it now. Now, now, now.”
Well, in a more sophisticated version. Bigger human, bigger words, and in case you didn’t get the correlation—bigger problems. My mind chants: “I await my fate, I need to know all hows, I want instant gratification now. Now, now, now.”
Bedtime stories come to life for me way past 8:30 pm. But seriously. Our biological makeup necessitates that as we grow, both our good and bad expand with us proportionately. I’m a legal adult, with adult problems. And adult-sized worries. These vices are upon me and steal my sleep at night. But I’m an adult, so there’s no fearing the dark and ghosts under my bed, yet the rhythmic chant tickles in my ears. I feel paralyzed by the unknown and stuck in the dark. And I’m tripping. Except it’s not on shoes; it’s on my life. The fear and worry debilitate me. The ghostly questions torment me. When? When? When? The five W’s aren’t just a checklist ensuring I collected all the latest gossip; it’s the daily self-interrogation that leaves me tongue-tied. It’s not because they’re trick questions. It’s because there’s a trick answer: it’s unknown.
When? When? When? When G-d deems fit. Which might not be now.
As a human with a head stooped in my own boots, my vision isn’t 20/20. I need a flashlight to navigate this murky room. Because even though I’m an adult, I don’t have x-ray vision. And my worry has no end. I haven’t mastered the trick answer just yet. The five W’s are open-ended. I want to say I know the answer, but I don’t. Even though G-d is taking care, the impatient, worrisome child in me is petrified of the big, dark, unknown world. I feel like the child in the book as I echo his complaint, “Waiting is hard.”
We are all waiting for something, aside for the bus and the mail as the brilliant book explains. Sometimes waits are deeper. Waiting for a child, for a job to support your family, for positive news from a test result. Those moments of waiting are excruciating. They’re spooky and ghostlike. They haunt our sleep and dash our dreams.
Sometimes, we have to marinate in those murky moments. When I keep my eyes open and focused on the dark, I become familiar with my surroundings. Once my eyes are accustomed, I can navigate the murkiness. I can walk around without tripping. Spending time in the dark is part of the process of reaching the light.
Like when the Jews travelled. The Mishkan was reconstructed at each pit stop, be it a day's stay or a week. No stop was just a wait. No wait was a waste. Each moment in life is purposeful. So as we wait for dreams to become reality, as we wait for life to progress, the banter may continue, “I want it now—now, now, now,” but we have to create reality in those moments instead of waiting for the reality we want.
In truth, good things don’t come to those who wait and twiddle their thumbs. Good things come to those who take the wait and realize that it is a step in the process.
Chaya Silver is passionate about continuously learning and finding meaning in the mundane.