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Almost Easter and Waiting for the Next Chapter

I've done a lot of waiting in the last year. Waiting for a phone call. Waiting for dinner to cook. Waiting for the fire to burn out. Waiting for the dogs to come back after an escape. Waiting for an email. Waiting for the kids to get off the bus.

Waiting for these small moments symbolizes an eagerness for the next paragraph or chapter in this life. It reminds me of how my entire life is waiting. Even when I'm busy, it's a means of coping with the waiting. . However, if I stand back and look at the big picture, I'm really waiting for this life on earth to end. It's an inevitable, counter cultural part of life many are uncomfortable with. To manage, we fall in love, have children, make friends, create art, go to work, and care for our loved ones as an act to distract ourselves from the waiting while avoiding that dreadful, virtuous word - patience.

The week before Easter every year seems to be this long, silent, wait for the moment we exit lent and enter the true new year. Everything is dormant with the spring season. This year I celebrate my birthday the same day this side of the world enjoys a rare eclipse. There is evidence of new life emerging all around me with buttercups, bluegrass, picking weeds - but it's all on the literal surface. The top of the trees remain bare and the creek is still visible through the brush. Although Easter is around the corner, and the air is warm, it feels quiet and anxious for the next days. The earth feels still waiting for the sun to come closer and relieve the morning frost.

The act of waiting brings about its own peace and comfort. It's a time to prepare in a place with little opportunity to mess up. It's a time to let go and allow God the control. It's a reminder we aren't so big after all while others hold the key to the next decision. The exercise on the outside seems simple, but the reality of waiting can be more difficult for humans than pain itself. The agony of doing nothing in a world that rewards progress and productivity can leave us in a frustrating place.

I recently showed some students a series of photographs by one of the most wonderful documentary photographers, Eugene Smith. They weren't any of his most well known photos. Like many photographers, Eugene was known for capturing life around them daily. The photographs depicted daily life of city residents in the mid-20th century. Most were older, in large groups, sitting in public areas. Some were talking, smoking, reading, or fishing - but rarely more than one of these at a time. It resembled a slowness of life rarely seen today. They all seemed to be waiting for something. The photographs made the students and I wonder not who they were but what time were they killing and for what?

As I sit waiting for my oldest to get home, I wonder if how we are observed and judged one day is not what we accomplished but how we waited.

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