Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tuesday's Reflection: Waiting for the Paint to Dry

Recently, we had our front porch sanded and freshly painted. One of our favorite places in the house was looking shabby, and our realtor reminded us of the importance when your house is for sale of "first impressions." I had been irritated by that reminder, for I have been devoted to keeping our home "showing ready" for almost a year and a half, never having anything out of place and attempting always to present a "this could be your home" welcome.

 The early summer had been rainy, however, making this project impossible, and I couldn't get painters to return my calls anyway. Finally, when we took the house off the market, the time was right to re-establish the front porch as the welcoming place we have always felt it to be. 

The process took several days, but my husband and I were thrilled with the results. All we could do, however, was admire it from afar while the paint dried completely.  

No Entering, No Leaving
I stood inside the house looking out the front door. I could see the porch and the steps and the sidewalk beyond. I could see the view of woods across the road, but I couldn't go out the door. 

To leave the house I had to go another way. The back door. 

You've heard and probably often yourself the trite, but true statement, "When one door closes, another door opens. It is also true what Nora Gallagher says in her book, Moonlight Sonata at the Mayo Clinic, "But it's hell in the hallway." 

And that's what waiting for the paint to dry felt like. Hell in the hallway. 

The Invitation of Waiting
I know deep in my heart that what happens as we wait for change, for transformation, for a new beginning is often something that can't happen any other way. I thank Nancy Bieber in her book, Decision Making and Spiritual Discernment, The Sacred Art of Finding Your Way for reminding me of that. I know that life continues to happen even while waiting. I know that waiting is its own kind of sacred time. I understand I don't know all that may be happening while I wait. 

I know I need to continue to live fully while waiting, and I even know "If you can't be still and wait, you can't become what God created you to be." Sue Monk Kidd

But I want to go through the door. Now. I want to go down the steps. Now. I see the other side, and I want to be there. Now. I don't want to wait anymore. 

The Activity of Waiting
Waiting for the house to sell has been and continues to be challenging. I don't know what this time of waiting is all about. I pray for patience. I immerse myself with other projects important to me. I re-acquaint myself with trust in the Divine. 

One of my guides during times of waiting has been the book Seven Spiritual Gifts of Waiting by Holly W. Whitcomb. She writes,
         When we face an extended period of waiting, we have
       an opportunity to engage in a radical kind of patience that 
       can take us beyond surviving to thriving. We can partner 
       with the waiting rather than treat it as the enemy. We can
       involve ourselves in an active waiting that opens doors, 
       creates opportunities and stretches our minds, bodies, and
       souls. While waiting may necessitate a certain powerless-
       ness, this does not mean giving up intelligence, action and
       hope. Active waiting teaches us to trust that each small
       step is part of a larger process--a process in which we can
       participate with steady determination and lively
       (p. 24)

Therefore, we are making some suggested changes in the house as a way to make it less personal, less specific and less suggestive of our taste and personality. Over the past year we have edited and edited the house, but now we are stepping aside even more, making room for a new owner. We trust that the paint will dry eventually, and while it does, we know we don't need to remain trapped looking out. We are using the back door. 

We know the waiting will be worth it.

An Invitation
Are you currently in waiting mode? How does waiting challenge you? In what ways is waiting a spiritual practice for you? How has waiting been a gift for you? I welcome your comments. 

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