In some circumstances I’m really good at waiting. If I’m stuck in traffic, in the doctors’ surgery or in a queue I’m really chilled. Waiting in these scenarios doesn’t stress me out. This doesn’t include the time I rang the AA when I’d broken down and they put me on hold and played ‘Rescue Me’ on loop, which I thought was quite a bad taste song choice. To make matters worse my husband was hoping I’d have to wait an hour to get recovered as it meant we’d get £10 compensation which “we could spend on a take away.” Forget the car, he was headed straight for the marriage garage. (This only works if you pronounce garage the proper way like a Northerner would).
During the last few years I’ve realised that I’m pretty bad at waiting for the bigger things I’m hoping for. From start to finish we waited three years to adopt our daughter. For me, the waiting was the hardest part of the process.
We all have to wait for things – it could be a promotion, a new job, to have a family or to find someone special. Here is what I learnt during the last few years – I’ve done an acrostic of Waiting – because who doesn’t love a good old acrostic?!
Wallow – but only in moderation. If you’re anything like me, you may think there ain’t no party like a pity party. You’ll really need to guard against this during a waiting time. I remember having a full on meltdown about 18 months ago. My husband was away and I allowed myself too much time to think about the fact that the adoption had not happened yet. I’m talking about a full on tears, snot, heap on the floor style meltdown. If I could rewind to meltdown o’clock I’d give myself a slap round the chops followed by a cuppa, a (large) bag of Maltesers and reassurance that an amazing answer to prayer was not too far round the corner. But hindsight is a wonderful thing you don’t have when you are waiting for something.
The (wonderfully bonkers) ‘Sumo Guy’ gives some great advice on what he calls ‘hippo time’ – a short period of time to acknowledge that you feel sad/disappointed/frustrated. His three top tips within this are:
- Be careful who you talk to
- Be careful how many people you talk to
- Be careful how long your ‘hippo time’ lasts.
I’d really encourage you to read the full chapter on this – it’s referenced at the end of the blog.
Active Waiting – do all that you can to get to your dream or goal. My dream was to adopt a child with Down Syndrome. So we took action – we found a great agency and started the process. I also got in touch with a fab local group who support children with Down Syndrome and their families – and I began volunteering with them. I met up with people who had adopted children with Down Syndrome to hear their advice and experiences.
I also prayed my socks off – sometimes that was all I could do, but I believe it made a real difference.
Be like these racing pigs – leaving behind the wallowing and hoofing it towards their dreams (or leggin’ it from the butcher?!) Don’t be disgruntled, go the whole hog, get crackling – be piggin’ assertive!
Information – Get informed! Become an expert in whatever it is you are waiting for. Swot like it’s hot! I read as many books as I could find about adoption and Down Syndrome. Waiting can be a great time of preparation, learning and growing – make the most of it.
Thankfulness – There were times during my wait when I was so focused on what I didn’t yet have that I didn’t appreciate all of the wonderful things I did have. I’ve read a lot lately about being ‘present in the now’ – enjoying and appreciating all of the people and things in your life as it is right now. This year I started a ‘Jar of Joy’ (cheesy but true) where I write down things that happen that make me smile – then I can read them all at the end of the year. My inner Brit wanted to also do a ‘Mug of Moans’ but I resisted that urge!
In his book about waiting, Wayne Stiles says; ‘Most of life is lived in the gaps between great moments…the mundane days remain an essential path to the great ones.’ Even in the mundane days when you dream is still not reached, there’s so much to be grateful for.
Interests – Get some hobbies for goodness sake! Don’t have too much time on your hands – especially if you are an over-thinker like me! Join a gym, learn a new skill, start a blog – keep busy. Whatever you are waiting for is likely to bring extra levels of responsibility to your life, so enjoy the freedom you have before change comes. (I’m just taking a minute to remember the wonder that was the ‘lie in.’)
No Nebbin’ in – This is a Northern expression meaning ‘don’t be nosey’. Social media can be a wonderful thing, but if you feel a lack in an area of your life you may be tempted to look at other peoples ‘living the dream’ posts and compare your life to theirs and become jealous/frustrated. And let’s be honest, we’ve all had a massive barney with our other half then took a smiley selfie and made out we are having a great day – what a load of tripe! I gave up Facebook for a few months and found this really helpful. You may not need to do that, but just be aware that comparison can be a real struggle during waiting times.
Generosity – I don’t necessarily mean money here, but be generous with your time, stuff, words, hugs and encouragement. Cheer others on and support them to reach their goals. Generosity helps to keep the focus off yourself and onto others.
During my wait I decided to sponsor a little boy with Down Syndrome through an amazing charity called ‘Shepherds Fields’ – a Chinese orphanage who look after children with disabilities. I committed to sponsoring him each month and praying for him. I was delighted to hear he’s recently been adopted and found his forever family! (And maybe even more delighted to cancel the direct debit – cut me some slack, the last 3 months of adoption leave are unpaid!)
I was encouraged by Isaiah 64:4, which says God ‘acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.’ Even when nowt seems to be happening I believe that God is up to stuff behind the scenes. In my experience, God’s best is worth waiting for – and in the meantime, spit that wasp out!
Love Kate xx (progressed to having a face like a camel eating sherbert)
SUMO – Paul McGee (The Sumo guy)
Waiting on God – What to Do When God Does Nothing – Wayne Stiles
Shepherds Field Orphanage – http://www.chinaorphans.org
Take 16 items through the 10 items or less check out and give the person behind you an opportunity to grow in patience 🙂
Next months blog – ‘12 Months off – and no stretch marks’ – an honest reflection on a year off work.