In the Waiting Lies the Beauty

At least, this is what I tell other people when they’re waiting.

Every waiting room’s a workshop for the soul, I say, breezily, easily, because it’s not me waiting.

Until it is. And I’m in the space of waiting, waiting, hitching my thumb out for a ride and hoping someone pulls over to offer me a lift out of this roadside nowhere.

A chaplain at my university told me once, “Beware of asking God to give you patience.” I get it. God’ll bring it. But only in the waiting.

How long, O Lord? the psalmist lamented. I can picture him, his harp flung tuneless to the dirt, his mouth twisted open to the overcast sky. How long, O Lord, how long?

How long until the light changes and the daily greyscale world unveils its violets and fire?

How long until the humdrum cracks wide into a hand-clapping choir swaying glory-hallelujah?

How long until the locust years give back their garden, go wild with wine?

How long, O Lord, how long?

But come morning, as sure as sunrise razors ribbons from the dark, as sure as the red-winged blackbirds whistle their call-and-response from breeze-bent bulrushes, as sure as the blackberry brambles surge into flowers that rapture into fruit—come morning, some morning, the whole world tilts, spills out its horded beauty, all those hours gone holy in the waiting, flush with new mercies, fat with grace—and the patience, that old vintage, now a swill of sweetness at the bottom of your glass.