A few months ago, we were at Costco. Usually I avoid this chore like the plague – it’s crowded, I’m not a fan of grazing the samples, and I always leave wondering about the state of humanity. Bea counts Costco as one of her top “date” places with Frank, just after Menchie’s. I think she knows how much I dislike it because she always uninvites me when Frank wants to plan a family shopping date. (Frank’s hope springs eternal in thinking I’ll one day enjoy this time…)
On this particular Saturday, I was by the deli, waiting for Frank and Bea to do one more snack lap before we moved onto the next section. It was raining that day and my non-maternity coat was stretched over my big-but-not-enormous-yet baby bump. A woman came up behind me and declared, “Seven fourteen!”
Excuse me? “Seven fourteen! I’m never wrong,” she said, eyeing my bump. Ah! July fourteenth! She was estimating my due date. I laughed and said something about it being earlier than the doctor’s prediction, so I’d take it.
Her words burrowed into my mind, and as July 14 approached, I began longing for a Bastille Day baby. I organized nesting and last minute chores around the fourteenth, wondering if she really was never wrong. When contractions started a few days before, I thought, Maybe this is it!
Well. The fourteenth passed and the contractions died down and our baby is still baking. Which is a good thing – the longer she’s in there, the better. But, the experience got me thinking about waiting.
Normally, there seem to be two types of waiting: One with an actual date or deadline and a more nebulous, idea-filled waiting. The first one is easy waiting – we wait for birthdays, for start or end dates, for events. Once the date approaches or passes, our waiting is finished.
The second type is more difficult – waiting for something in general or a dream. We’re waiting for the day when work settles down, when we can travel again without a thousand items to pack, when our kids are more independent and I’ll have time to pursue ideas that are impractical at this stage. All these dreams will most likely happen – in some incarnation or another – but I have no idea what sort of timeline is involved. I keep them on the back burner, simmering away but not worried about them at the moment.
The last weeks of pregnancy don’t fit into either category. Yes, we have a date and I can’t be pregnant forever, but really, we wait for this independent little girl. It’s all up to her and her own timeline. Nothing we can do will make this happen faster or on an exact date. It’s a lesson in letting go, in being ready without obsessing, and in living in this moment.
It reminds me of that verse in Romans:
For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. (Romans 8:22-23, NLT)
I’m no theologian, but I always thought Paul was talking about active labor – that hard, difficult push but the end is in sight. Now, I wonder if he’s really talking about this pre-labor waiting – this time of anticipation, of knowing the end is near, but having no idea when or how it’s going to look. We prepare, but there’s really only so much we can do.
I think about the groaning of injustice, both worldwide and right here at home. I think about how impatient I get that things aren’t moving fast enough. This experience reminds me that all I can do is prepare and ready myself while simultaneously letting go of all control.
I believe in the restoration of this earth – that we are part of bringing the Kingdom to earth. I can easily get overwhelmed and wonder what my part in all this really is. And, I remember – just as I need to remember while waiting on this baby – that my part is to be ready, to be open, to be an active participant, but to know that it is out of my hands.
What are your views on waiting? How do you actively let go of control?