All of us are familiar with waiting rooms of one kind or another. We have waited for people. We have waited for planes, trains and buses. We have been in the waiting rooms of doctors and dentists and hospitals. No two waiting rooms are the same. In some you feel close to heaven; in others you feel close to hell. There is no comparison between waiting in a comfortable airport lounge for a plane to take you on an exciting trip, and waiting in a hospital room for news of a loved one who is clinging to life by a slender thread.
We are familiar with the peculiar atmosphere that prevails in waiting rooms. It can be an air of uncertainty which makes us feel nervous and apprehensive. In general, the people we meet in waiting rooms are strangers to us. Still, it's better than being alone. But of course it's so much better if you have a friend or friends by your side.
What makes the experience so difficult is precisely the waiting. Waiting is not easy!
It means being idle. Idleness can be unbearable, especially for active people. The poor do more waiting than the rich. The latter are able to skip the queue.
But the hardest thing of all about waiting is the sense of powerlessness that usually accompanies it. Things are out of our control. Our destiny is in the hands of someone else. There is nothing we can do but wait. This can be excruciating for capable people who like to take control of things.
We look for some distraction, something to make the time pass more quickly and to keep our minds off the future. In many waiting rooms you will find reading material left there for that purpose. But often you find yourself unable to concentrate on it.
But waiting, though painful, can be a graced thing. Our very soul is nurtured by want as well as by plenty. Waiting brings home to us how inter-dependent we are. We need others. Besides, waiting is part of life. The earth has to wait for the rain. The farmer has to wait for the Spring. Waiting is necessary for change, growth, and healing to happen.
One psychologist says that people need to be empowered - that is her
definition of health. But there are also times when we may need to be
weak and powerless, vulnerable and open to experience. Only when a
hole appears in the wall are we able to see beyond.