“Everyone is just waiting,” Dr. Seuss wrote in “Oh, The Places You’ll Go,” saying the
most useless place is the waiting place.
Dr. Seuss is particularly poignant now.
We’re all waiting for a cruel winter to end and for a COVID-19 vaccine to arrive.
We’re waiting to hug and kiss each other again, to travel freely, and to linger in
restaurants over dessert.
Waiting is like a screen door that keeps us from going outside, while inside, we sit in
frustration and anger about how our lives are on hold.
So much of our existence involves waiting; you’d think we’d be good at it by now.
There are rooms, cues, and sidewalk benches to waylay us until the main event
begins—until we get called into the doctor’s office, reach the grocery store checkout,
or the next bus arrives. Waiting is a cultural institution.
Nonetheless, we don’t like to idle our engines. We get antsy for packages to come,
for sprained ankles to heal or for employers to tell us we got the job. Technology’s
instant gratification and convenience only supercharges our inherent impatience.
The Gifts of Waiting
And, yet, there’s wisdom in waiting. Sometimes, it’s the only sane thing to do. Delays
can be providential. And time has a way of honing our perceptions and…