Waiting…. “is hard when you don’t know that for which you are waiting!” This line from Christ in the Concrete City describes the feelings of the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane as they waited while Jesus prayed. I’m certain we’ve all experienced the same emotions in our lives.
At this moment, I am more aware of this as my husband and I have received email after email concerning friends who are going through medical emergencies. With instant messaging available, news travels fast among friends…but the outcomes must wait for the procedures to take place. Those steps have not changed over the years. And so, we wait. At least I have learned to use that wait time in prayer for my friends.
Children do not like delayed gratification. I have witnessed their frustration, anger, and manipulation being used to obtain what they desire immediately. Some parents express equal frustration with the impatience of their children, while others express a deep feeling of guilt for not giving their children the satisfaction they desire.
My own theory is that our lightning-fast technology has caused us to become impatient with the world around us. Horns are honked the moment a traffic light changes because the car in front didn’t move off the line fast enough. Some drivers refuse to wait in traffic lines and will take all kinds of risks to “beat the crowd.” So it seems everyone is in a rush.
All this rushing seems strange since we have more time-saving devices than ever before in our history. Yet, most people complain they “don’t have enough time in the day.” I do the same thing until my husband reminds me, “You have the same twenty-four hours everyone has.” What is happening to us? Perhaps our brains have been reprogrammed by the advertising industry to squeeze as many things into a tiny time slot as is possible.
I try to help our new crop of students to understand and endure delayed gratification through planned activities. Yes, I even disappoint them from time to time by putting off an award they were looking forward to obtaining. Oh, I keep my word about giving the reward, but my timing is dictated by their “timing,” as they work and play through the school day. Impatience in lines, dealing with friends, getting supplies, etc. can cause a tremendous amount of “wait” time to be accrued.
I have watched the steady removal of wait times. Instead of waiting to drive at sixteen years of age, we have created battery driven small vehicles for kids as well as given them four wheelers to drive off-road. Instead of waiting to apply makeup, girls are provided with makeup kits for nine or ten year olds. And the beat goes on…
Around the world, Christians are awaiting the promised return of Jesus. I am one of those. Yet, I realize I am here to live, act, and develop relationships with others while I have life. And so, I wait when it is necessary, and I act when it is possible!