There seems to be a lack of bookmarks in my house – it’s not uncommon to find books left on tables, benches and counters being kept open by odd placeholders – coasters, markers, pencils, toys, and even other books! At the end of the day, if I gather up these paperbacks and hardcovers and remove the makeshift bookmarks, a voice may likely call out, gently reprimanding me – “Dad… now I won’t know what page I’m on.”
That desire to know and remember what page we’re on in the stories we are reading extends to the everyday stories we are living as well. Recently, we were using Zoom (what else) to connect with some loved ones, talking about this odd corona virus season we’re in and the difficulties in knowing what day or time it is. Then my oldest, Abby, reminded me of a scene from Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss. In a book all about going, Seuss pauses to take a passing jab at waiting, warning his readers that we may be:
“…Headed, I fear, toward a most useless place. The Waiting Place… for people just waiting. Waiting for a train to go… Everyone is just waiting. NO! That’s not for you! Somehow, you’ll escape.”
I’ve written about Dr. Seuss’ wisdom for Story Warren before (https://storywarren.com/dr-seuss-and-breaking-bad/), but I wonder if here, where he looks down his nose at the uselessness of waiting, he may be missing the mark. While that comment on waiting may be appropriate for recent graduates, it is likely not the right word on waiting for the story we find ourselves in at the moment.
What if there is power and goodness to be found in a season of waiting? Does the waiting place that we’re in, or the waiting page that we find ourselves on, have to be bad? What could make that waiting worthwhile?
In Portuguese, the words for “waiting” and “hoping” come from the same root. “To wait” and “to hope” are linked linguistically. And maybe that’s where we could find something to hold onto – waiting doesn’t have to be because of a lack of hope. Waiting and hope can be on the same page.
May we be a people who know what page we’re on – trusting that God is at work in our story.
May we be a people marked by hope, even in a season of waiting.
Featured image by ijeab