Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
My husband’s voice cracked. He blinked quickly, gulped and resumed.You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself Any direction you choose.
He shifted uneasily, paused again. Sniffed, cleared his throat and forged ahead. I turned from the screen and walked out of the room.
My boys, however, were caught in rapt attention. Daddy was on TV! Reading them a story – a beloved story – right in our living room. How’d he do that? Could they talk to him? Wasn’t he in Iraq? Is that what Iraq looked like – a tan cubicle with cloth-covered office chairs? How boring.
My silent questions were different. Is he eating enough? Does he always look so strained? How did he get through that entire book without bawling? Oh God, what if this is the la…You can get so confused That you’ll start in to race Down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace And grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, Headed, I fear, toward a most useless place. The Waiting Place…. ….for people just waiting. Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting. Somehow, he managed to finish the story and tell us he loved us and he’d be home soon. That was December 2008. We were waiting. Waiting for deployment to end. Waiting to see faces of new family members. Waiting for the day we’d all be together – anew and again.
Oh, The Places You’ll Go! is one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books. I received my first copy when I graduated high school. Our second copy came in the mail, courtesy of the USO, along with Superman’s video recording I have hidden where no child can ever find and, in a sudden moment of nostalgic inspiration, beg to watch again.
My children aren’t the only ones captivated by rainbow towers, winding roads under horseshoe hoops and Boom Bands playing. I love the adventure and nod approvingly as life’s twisting unexpected turns are captured so perfectly in simple rhyming and pink-topped trees.
I used to scoff at The Waiting Place. I try to side step it, but to no avail. Sometimes life is just a bunch of waiting.
Yet, somehow, the waiting has a place, too. Dr. Seuss says, “NO! That’s not for you!” but sometimes, it is.
I remember that time of waiting and I cry thinking of God’s grace in it all. I didn’t think I needed the time, but somehow He knew I did. Time to nurture my three boys before two more were added and our world turned upside down. Time to reveal His strength pulsing through me, rising me to occasion after occasion under some most difficult circumstances. Time for sweet memories to be painted in brilliant color and hung forever in the halls of my life.
I’ve come to believe The Waiting Place has its value. There is so much to do during the time of waiting, but without eyes to see, we’ll miss it. We’ll waste our time, thinking of only what it “will” be like when our children are home, when we’re finally all together, when the process is over. But one process only leads to another and the waiting really may only lead to a different sort of waiting – one where you’re waiting for love to come, for grieving-hurt to stop, for compassion to grow, for bonds to solidify.
I used to spend all my time waiting. Waiting for Superman’s training to be over, waiting for the next move, waiting ’til we had money and stopped being broke. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Some days, I still catch myself waiting. But, in an off chance God catches me quiet and open to His whisperings I awake to His truth: life is to be lived, enjoyed and embraced… even in the waiting.You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s A Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.) KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!
20 He (Jesus) replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:20
….even the waiting.