I love college football, and I’m obnoxiously amazed by athletic abilities, probably because I have none. I enjoy a long pass (with a good reception, of course), an interception (especially a pick 6), and a sack (but feel sorry for the quarterback's mom). Here’s what I don’t enjoy: time out. Those seconds send me over the edge, especially if it’s a close game. Half time also challenges me. I want the second half to start immediately after the band finishes. I need to know what’s going to happen next, who’s going to score, who’s going to win. The 2014 National Championship game, that I wasn’t going to watch, certainly tested my patience. But sometimes the big plays come after the time outs, maybe even a turnover. Adjustments are made at half time, after the waiting. Players return with renewed strength.
There’s something else I love, and this is where I may lose a few readers: Winter. But I've only loved it for a few years. Call it age, but I now look forward to the stillness and the rest, especially after a sensory overload Christmas. After the holidays, I’m practically giddy about staying inside by the fire with a book and a cup of coffee.
In the past, I wanted it to be spring as soon as fall was over. I’m a gardener and couldn’t wait for my spring perennials to show up, so how could I love winter? Nature is brown and colorless. Nature looks dead. But it isn’t. Not all of it. It’s dormant: inactive, asleep, and suspended, making adjustments. Nothing grows without rest. Nature is stripped and waiting to be redecorated.
My yard is brown. My perennials are mostly covered with pine needles. But the suspended lilies, inactive iris, sleeping hosta and resting cherry tree are waiting and will grow bigger, fuller, stronger, brighter, and maybe more colorful than the year before. When spring comes, I’ll divide the perennials and have more to enjoy. Three months isn’t long compared to the fragrant spring, bright summer, and golden fall that results from waiting.
My Labrador, Hershey, likes to wander through the woods behind our house, taking her sweet time, sniffing and inspecting every leaf and fallen branch. Since 2009, The Summer of My Poison Ivy, I’ve reserved walking with her for the winter. The woods are still and quiet. Nothing is hidden, so we see details we've never seen before, including several of the Frisbees she lost in summer's overgrowth. The leaves are softening the soil, making it more valuable. The houses behind our house might be visible in the winter, but so are the sunsets.
Psalm 27: 14 Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord.
Waiting isn’t fun, but it’s necessary. At the age of 2, my oldest child memorized “Oh the Places You’ll Go.” I did, too and read it while driving with him in the back seat holding the book, correcting my mistakes. Leave it to Dr. Seuss to give us a creative page of reality.
Everyone is just waiting…. Train to go…mail to come…..phone to ring…hair to grow…for Friday night… a pot to boil or a Better Break…or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting……
Not knowing what comes next can make us anxious and tired, but God strengthens our hearts while we wait. I'm sure I'm not the only one who prays more in the waiting. Adjustments are made. Even though it seems like a lifetime, we’re only dormant for a short time, and then we see something new, something better, stronger, and brighter, maybe in ourselves or our situations. What was hidden becomes visible in the waiting.
Psalm 27: 13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed, that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Happy 2014 with more goodness, and maybe even a few turnovers,