Telling The Story In The Middle: A Study in Wait & Pause – Living In The Waiting

If there is a protocol for blogging or a template for writing blog posts or a committee of oversight for writing, they may tell me this one is coloring outside the lines too much. Well at least the long and winding title. In which I tried to say too much and didn’t opt for the pithy. The brief. The succinct.

And who has time to read through a long title? Today things should be brief and catchy and short and simple is always better, right?

How incredibly ironic and frustrating and so very timely is the spinning chrome ball forcing me to wait as I write a post impatiently on waiting. Pausing.

There would be no reason to write on waiting and patience and finding myself in the middle of much if I didn’t know in my deep down places that it is  a core human struggle.

And in the writing, in the sharing, there is  a collective group sigh or exhale or head nod— I know this place too. Or there could be. If you can make it through this long post. If you feel up to waiting for the end.

And yet in the middle of it all  are such deeply personal and individual lessons from God for me that it feels like a sacred tutorial. He is  sanctifying my heart and soul in a season marked for me. A something I need to really get and embrace and be challenged by. And grown by.

So who tells stories in the messy middle before there is closure and a neat and tidy ending? Who leaves the reader hanging, saying why did you tell me this if you couldn’t also tell me that?

I know only that I write from the heart what I feel lead to share.

And there are things upon which I wait. And it feels like a first world problem, and yet I know He cares to speak to me in all of my living. And He cares deeply about all the details of all of our lives.

As I wait for a return to a call and an email and a text from a woman, I wonder why the delay. The Patient One says I have made her mad. I can’t think how or when or what caused the quiet from her end.

So I will tell you how it ends when I get the return from my call in which I said I need to apologize to you. I don’t know what I have done but please tell me so I can say I am sorry.

I don’t know the ending but I know the peace in the middle. I told her I needed to hear her voice. I hope she calls. I have a measure of peace. I want complete peace. Don’t we all.

I have a child with a desire to be accepted to a specific college. We wait. I pray. We feel like there is a pregnant pause in the air. And God and I are tethered to One another in a way we would not be if a child’s future didn’t hang in the balance. He knows me well. He keeps me hanging. He keeps me waiting. And I know these periods of waiting well.

Of waiting for long cycles of infertlity to end. And being lead to adoption and receiving the gift of  another biological child, a daughter after the blessed adoption of a son. He meets me in my waiting. I should long for periods of waiting with Him. They have marked my life with the beautiful. Building my family through waiting, just the way He intended it to be built.

One of the most precious people in my world, my inner inner world, is going through a painful divorce. And I want it to end. I want the pain to stop for her. I want closure and finality and decision. I long for her suffering to end.

She is in the messy middle and she texts me and calls me and I hurt for her. But God will sustain her through the dark period. I reminded her yesterday to hold on to her Joy and not to lose sight of her “what is good”. She has four beautiful children. She texted me thank you for reminding her not to lose sight of the Joy. I wasn’t sure she heard me through her pain. I should listen to my own advise.

We wait for healing in our church family and  in my small community. For a new day and a rebuilding of our body after division.

I long to receive a letter from my Compassion Sponsored child in Peru. There are, I believe, long delays in correspondences between Peru and me, typically normally. This will be the new normal through the years of corresponding with her. But much more importantly, she must be waiting on me. I am overdue a letter to her. It saddens me to think I have left her waiting. I have caused her to wonder where the letter is from me.

And I wonder if God is waiting on me too. I want to be obedient in my living and in my writing. I wonder if I haven’t heard Him clearly. What does He intend for me to do and when with this writing. I am working with a friend on a poetry project, Adagio. And we wait to discuss the next season for this our fledgling poetry project. We wait a little.

My daughter wants her room redecorated. Its in process, unfinished. A stark reminder of the physicality of waiting. I walk in to make the bed and its a work in progress. And that is it. That is really a large part of it.

We are in process, we are a study in waiting, we are unfinished business and unfinished creatures and souls daily. God is refining us. And working things out through us and in us.

I lean into the understanding of this and seek to know it all better. We are unfinished until we are perfected by Him. And the right here is full of things to embrace, to learn, to hold to, to study, to enjoy, to celebrate.

On my porch sits a Christmas tree, our second tree. I received a gift which I want to unwrap and use, a box of ornaments from my parents. But there were so many they needed their own tree. And a wide eyed teenage daughter said I really want to decorate the porch.

The tree is lopsided and propped up. I can’t figure out how to “install” the tree in the newfangled tree stand. It is a mess of beautiful. A mess of white lights waiting to go up on the horizontal tree. Maybe the tree could lay on the ground and I could color outside the lines. Hang the ornaments from a laying in wait tree. Maybe that would symbolize the waiting.

We wait for Christmas Day.

But  isn’t so much of the joy in the days leading up to the day.

Fining joy in the right here right in the messy middle.

The tree on the porch and I have a lot in common. We wait.

I want to be beautiful in the waiting. And learn from the pauses.

Wait with me, pray with me, learn with me.

It would make the waiting even richer. To wait with one another, in community. As we work through and work out the days of our waiting.

The chrome colored ball has gone for the moment. But I know it will pop back up and make me pause. I hope I rest and pray and find peace in the pauses.

And the disposal is broken and the sink is clogged up and I am waiting on the electrician. Maybe I can spread some Christmas cheer while he is here.  While I am waiting for him to fix my brokeness.

Amen? Amen.

Joining Ann, Emily,Emily at Chatting At The Sky, and Jennifer



On The First Day The Tree Went Up The Memories Flooded In

We snip. We cut. We add we subtract. And we upgrade, downgrade, go outside, inside. Evolving and changing our traditions a little more, a little less, a little different every year.

But there is always a tree. And some years two.

Its as if she were the archivist for our very lives. She, an archeologist on a dig into the very soil of our living. She,the record keeper and documentarian of family and the unfurling of the days of our lives.

And she asks for so very little. Just water to keep her from dropping needles, just water to sustain her for a season.

We have picked up, boxed up and moved out of houses and homes. Like salting soup, who measures, counts, it adds taste and flavor and you just keep shaking the shaker until its right. You don’t count and I am not counting now. But it feels like a nice big number.

I remember the trees always, some how, some way, some size, there is always a tree to hold up the recording of child’s art or First Christmas married ornaments  bought to fill the tree. And in the upside down paradox of the tree’s economy, the construction paper ones are more precious than the sterling silver ornaments from stores with names which are hallmarks of fine gifts.

And in the paradox of the tree, the ones hanging by a thread and hanging with yarn are finer, much more valuable than the big glass ones which break, by twos and by two dozens it seems, every year.

As with the paradox held in her limbs, so too in life — the meek shall inherit the earth and he who is last will be first. Simple is sweetest and the primitive ones hold memories like facets in a diamond, the year, the child, the size of hand. The growing life held on the steadfast trees.

There are strange stories that she could tell, this historian of the home. The silver ornaments found in the yard saved just in the nick of time from the trash heap or recycler. And months later in the back of the car, a favorite retrieved, saved thankfully from being lost and tossed.

When I was a child, a big child, I curled up under the tree with my favorite cat. And it smelled and looked and felt like the most wonderful hiding place in all the world. She provided a magical whimsical escape from the world.

She knows and sees such intimate moments of a life. There, shining and majestic, very  large and looming this particular year, as if a foreshadowing of a life-event which changes a family forever. The phone rang, I sat and stared at her green beauty and my tears puddled, my eyes blurred, I couldn’t see through the wet joy.

A baby had been born.

And he was coming into our family. A son, adopted. Lives changed forever. And the tree was up early that year. So a bassinet and a baby boy are rolled under her long limbs, evergreen protectors like a mother’s arms, for first pictures. A baby at home on December 2. Prayers answered. And the tree sees the lives transformed.

There were late sleepless nights when she was a cool calm friend. Walking the floors in the wee hours from worry or stress or menopause, and a lit tree calmed like a hot bath. The tree and I. And a  quiet sleeping house.

Her fragrance, her evergreen beauty and regal stature whether she is grand or charliebrowntreeesque (this  word is not in the Scrabble dictionary, but it needs to be) are barometers of family life. You can read down and up and out and back, as a record book of family details and milestones.

What would we do without her.

So I would offend her,  as any mother would be, if I chose a favorite ornament. It would be almost like singling out a child from the nest as the favorite. Mom’s heart holds equal love for each one of her babies.   But you can bet that more often than not, it’s the meek, the humble, the rudimentary that take up the most space in the heart.

The ornament that is made in love, with love, pointing to love , witnessing love, and marking love, through the years, through the Christmases.

And through the trees.

What new stories will she gather up with her branches and hold fast in her evergreen arms.

What love will she witness, what new life will she bury in the quiet recesses of her archives.

Ripe with living, ripe with love.

Green and growing, families through the years.

ornament one

Joining Amber and a great group of writers at The Run A Muck for Amber’s concrete word prompts. Today it is Ornament.


And I am joining Laura for Playdates At The Wellspring.