Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I am worried about the daffodils

I am worried about the daffodils. Usually, like Wordsworth, my heart “dances with the daffodils” when I see them splash a hillside with color in spring. This time, the daffodils are a few months off on their timing. The unseasonably warm December confused them. They think spring has come, and some of them have decided to go ahead and show us what they are made of. So, in the middle of January, a few daffodils are peaking up and taking a glance around. They must be terribly disappointed.

After consulting with a few friends at lunch this week, I have learned that many pre-season bloomers will not flower again when their time comes. How can they complete another cycle in just a few months? Instead, my yard will be a bit barer when the weather warms.

The daffodils are not my only little friends in bloom. A few dear ladies are waiting for babies any day now. Last week, I joined two lifelong friends for Pad Thai and spring rolls. One of those friends is days away from having a baby girl. We celebrated her birthday a few days early in case the baby came on her special day. Between the Thai food and birthday cake, we listened to her tell about having this baby inside. “They told me we could go ahead and induce labor, but I am not in a hurry. It is so healthy for her lungs to keep growing, and I honestly will miss having her so close to me.” Instead of pacing the floor and wringing her hands, my friend waits with purpose.

How can we see waiting as a blessing?

So much of life is marked by waiting. High school seniors are waiting to hear what colleges have accepted them. Their younger friends are waiting to start driving. Their parents are waiting for them to grow up. We wait for pay raises, job changes, housing upgrades, and betters cars. We wait for true love, a moment of peace, and a glimpse of a better life. One satisfaction compels us to more waiting. College happens; we wait for a job. Careers happen; we wait on love. Marriage happens; we wait for babies. Children happen; we wait to retire. When can we stop waiting?

Psalm 37:7 reads, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” Maybe my understanding of waiting needs to expand. Instead of clocking down the minutes until the waiting ends, I can shift my perspective to understand the waiting as an experience in itself. Be still. Wait patiently. My friend holds her pregnancy, her time of expecting, as the time her little one will be closest to her. Is our waiting the time in which we find ourselves closest to God?

In Thailand, they respond with “mai pehn rai,” meaning “nevermind, no problem, no worries.” Maybe our Thai food with the pregnant mom was symbolic. Instead of fretting over the waiting, she relaxed, enjoyed a meal, and laughed with her oldest friends. No problem. Nevermind. She showed no worries.

Well, “mai pehn rai” for the daffodils. Maybe they need to just wait a little longer, or I should learn to enjoy the rare pleasure of daffodils in January. If my friend has her baby before they go, I know what I can do. Baby Rylee will have a vase of daffodils in her nursery. It will remind all of us that life is worth the wait. Sometimes, we might even find our life in the midst of the waiting anyway.

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