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Wisdom Wednesday: The Wisdom of the Waiting Place

PhotoFunia Chalk Writing Regular 2014-02-25 09 55 34

“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 a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

-Dr. Seuss

Oh the Places You'll GoThis popular passage from “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss whimsically describes a place that all of us have been at one time or another in our lives; the waiting place.   I’ve yet to meet the lucky individual who hasn’t experienced at least one dolefully, dreadful, transitional period in their lives where each slowly passing day seems like a personal version of the movie Groundhog Day.  All of us have been in waiting places. Whether they’ve lasted days, weeks, months, or even years, we’ve all had some sort of agonizing time period in our lives where we’ve had to wait for something. Sometimes waiting places are mini versions of hell, like when were waiting for test results from a doctor, or for word about the safety of a loved one.  However, some waiting places are right where we need to be and are for our own good, whether we like them or not.

When I was 29 years old, I journeyed to what felt like the worst waiting place of my life.  At that time, I was already the mother of my, then, three and five year-old daughters.  I was teaching elementary school full-time, and I was the wife of my university’s handsome, former, star quarterback.  Ours, looked from the outside to be a lovely marriage, and I worked very hard to be the kind of wife and mother that would keep it that way.  The problem was, while I was concentrating on my family and career, my husband was concentrating on a pretty young thing at his workplace.  Two days before my 30th birthday, he revealed to me that he wanted a divorce. I was crushed.

It was a surprisingly amicable split.  We shared custody of the children and remained respectful to one another for all of our sakes.  I concentrated on mothering while mourning the loss of what I’d always wanted to be; married with a big, bustling family.  After my mom died, that was something that I’d felt that I’d lost.  My father had quickly remarried and sold my childhood home. With few other living relatives, I yearned for the warm connection of family.  So eight months after my divorce, I slowly began the hunt for my perfect husband that would help me continue to create the family that I so desired.

My journey began with a list of  husbandly attributes that I was seeking; kindness, fidelity, good humor, responsibility, etc.  I fueled my list with constant, vigilant prayer and officially entered “the waiting place” waiting for the perfect guy to come my way.  Slowly, but surely, I met people and I dated them, but none were quite right.  One wanted me, but not my children, so I quickly said goodbye.  Another wanted me and, unfortunately, several other girls.  Others were sweet, but just not the right match.

Years passed  and I pretty much gave up on finding love.  I concentrated on mothering and dealing with life on my own.  I got pretty good at being the head of a single parent household and was proud of myself for my management skills.  My children were thriving.  I was receiving excellent evaluations at work, I’d started college funds for my daughters, and was even looking in to buying my first home.  I’d figured out a lot about myself and my capabilities while  banished to the waiting place and I was almost content with life just as it was when a friend suggested online dating.  It seemed kind of flaky, but that small part of me that still yearned for a big, bustling family was willing to give it a try.

The first and only ad that I answered was my now husband’s, a shy, brilliant engineer  with a son, who had been waiting, like me, for a big, bustling family.  Six months after we met, he proposed, but to be on the safe side, we waited.  We stayed in the waiting place together for just one year more, because it was a safe place to learn in.  We learned more about the things that made us happy, and strong.  I learned the things that made his son smile and hug me, and he learned to make my daughters laugh and trust him.  We tested each season for that one year more until at last, on a hot August morning with our children by our sides, we exited the waiting place hand-in-hand and said the vows that have pledged us together for the past 13 years of marriage.

The waiting place sucked, but I had to be there.  I had to learn my worth and capability, my accelerations and my limits, my simple likes and dislikes, and  even my tolerance for deprivation and loneliness, in order to fully appreciate the noisy, crowded, crazily wonderful life that I have today.

Somehow you’ll escape
all that waiting and staying.
You’ll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.

With banners flip-flapping,
once more you’ll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

-Dr. Seuss

When have you been in a waiting place?  What did you learn?

If you would like to participate in Wisdom Wednesdays, please email me at I’d love to read stories of how life’s situations have helped you gain personal wisdom.  I welcome writers of all ages and experiences. 

20 thoughts on “Wisdom Wednesday: The Wisdom of the Waiting Place”

  1. Great story, thank you for sharing it. I guess it once again tells us that good things come to those who wait…I’m recycled too, I view my first husband as a mere (albeit not wholly enjoyable!) stepping stone to my perfect man ❤️

    1. Thank you! I think we’ve both be upcycled rather than recycled! Our life experiences and second husbands have helped us to become better, brighter, and even more fabulous than we were before! 🙂 Thank you for reading my story. I can’t wait to see what you come up with. I’ve already made a cute, cooking themed Wisdom Wednesday picture for your future post! 🙂

  2. Such a well written, insightful post 🙂 I am so glad that you found the one that was destined for you. Waiting? Yes, I am to become more known, to conduct more services, to complete this 7 month course. I wait because I hope in the end (even at my age) I will be cemented into a job that I love doing – and hopefully it will be worth the wait 🙂 Mine is such a similar story to yours, perhaps I shall email 🙂 x

    1. Oh, I would absolutely love to read your story! Please send it when you have the chance. I think you’ll do a wonderful job as a marriage celebrant, and it will be worth the wait. My husband and I were married by an elderly judge who was so sweet. Though it was a simple courthouse wedding, we so often think of it and him. Every couple that you join together will reflect fondly on your service for the rest of their lives. That’s incredibly cool! Thank you so much for your kind words. I can’t wait for your guest post! 🙂

  3. I love this story! Thank you for showing the hope in this as well as how we can grow in the waiting place. it’s funny that you just commented about my daughter then I come over here and you’re quoting her favorite book–well, one of them. As a teen/adult she still loves the message of this Dr,. Seuss! BTW, I’d love to do a Wisdom Wed. sometime. Are you hoping we’ll write about our waiting place or is the topic open? I’ve been in some major waiting places, but I have other stories, too. ;o)

    1. I’d love to have you do Wisdom Wednesday! You may write about ANY life experience that’s made you wiser. I chose this story for today because I spent yesterday with my very best friend in the world who actually gave me a copy of that book about 18 years ago–when I was in the midst of my “waiting place!” Your daughter has excellent taste in Drs.! 🙂 Thank you so very much for visiting and volunteering! 🙂

      1. So far I haven’t developed a schedule. I know how busy all of us are, so I’m just taking posts as I get them and filling in with my own until then.
        My best friend is pretty darn special. I met her on my first day of college when she was the leader of the group showing us poor Freshmen around.
        Thanks for putting my post up. I saw it and was about to comment on it,when my oldest texted me to tell me she ran into a concrete post in the hospital parking lot on her way to school. She’s fine, but her car had to be towed. I’m just now checking messages before heading to the wellness center and then to a meeting. I wish I could be on here all day, but you know how it is! 🙂 Have a nice day!

  4. Agh this is so incredibly inspiring to me and I am sure to others. It can take nerve to hang in there and gain lots of self worth. There is beauty in waiting – as your beautiful post shows so eloquently. It’s so true, ‘better’ things show up with time I find, like friendships and jobs. The saying that you don’t know what’s around the corner (in a positive sense!) rings even more true after reading this great post. This has me heartened.

    1. Thank you for your kind, kind words! Waiting is difficult, but life’s experiences have shown me that time to develop our best attributes is sometimes what we need in order to fully appreciate what’s waiting in the future for us. Please do take heart, because odds are that good things are in your future! 🙂

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