I’m not good at waiting. Okay, so maybe I’m impatient.
My husband, on the other hand, can wait forever. Plus he has a lot of patience.
My husband is retired military. Waiting is part of his training. In fact the unspoken rule of the military is “Hurry up and wait.” I asked him how he dealt with that routine. Did it bother him? Did he question it?
His answer was that waiting was part of being ready. If he was required to be dressed out by 5:00 a.m., he was expected to do so, even if after he arrived, he waited an hour to be given the next order. Bother him? No. What good would that do? Question it? Yes, but the answer was that in case of an unexpected delay, there was time built in for preparedness.
Lately, I’ve contemplated how many things require waiting. Despite a society that thrives on instant gratification, there are still times that require waiting.
For example, humans take an average of nine months from conception to a child’s birth. Seeds planted in the ground require time to produce flowers. Fruit and vegetables require time to mature, to be edible.
Writing, too, requires time. When I first entertained the notion of seeing my writing published, I heard stories of how many years it took for most authors to be published. In traditional publishing (not self-publishing), this is still the case. But of course I thought I would be an exception to the rule. I figured as soon as I got something written, it would be published. Not so.
Why? For one, before I submitted to a publisher, I asked experienced people in the business to look over what I’d written, Naturally, I’d expected accolades, praise that I’d written something so wonderful. But even though I thought I was literate enough to write, I lacked experience and knowledge to make my writing suitable for publication. And how does one gain experience and knowledge? It takes time. And time requires waiting.
So when my writing finally got to the point where it was acceptable for a publisher, I submitted it. And then I waited for a response. Publishers aren’t usually quick to respond because there are many writers submitting to them, as well as many people at the publishing company that weigh in on decisions.
Finally, a publisher accepted my work, then I had to wait for a contract.
After the contract, many other things had to happen before publishing occurred – editing, editing and more editing of my “perfect” work, then production scheduling which included formatting and cover design.
Meanwhile, I waited.
Writers often compare bringing a story or book to its final print is like having a baby. And that is so true. Much as I want to hurry the process, I want the baby to have every opportunity to develop correctly.
And so I wait.
As I write this, outside my window are plants that are three feet tall. Each of those plants has multiple stems, and each of those stems has flowers — beautiful, colorful, unique flowers. Butterflies and hummingbirds enjoy those flowers as they flitter from one to the other. And I’m reminded that the flowers weren’t always there. Once they were tiny seeds I poked into the dirt.
And then I waited.
With flower seeds or book publication, I have no control over the outcome. I do, however, have control over my attitude while I wait, and what I can do in the meantime.
For me, it means turning over my desire for control to God and trust Him with the outcome. There’s a Bible verse I like that relates to this process. “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” Psalm 5:3