Sometimes all you can do is take off your cape and for it to change… My misstep, when caregiving, was how I waited. I pined for a different future like a kid thinks about holiday gifts in October…focused on what was lacking. Waiting like it is already Christmas morning improves outcomes.All the presents are right her and ready for me to notice and unwrap them.My questions are about how I am going to play with them rather than, do I have enough?
As fear became my compass, I could not see a path to better options. When my world was crashing in, husband gone, brother dead, my mother in another serial EMT crisis, it looked like I was competently dealing as an adult, but the truth was more like ducking for (nuclear) cover under my desk. Moving forward blindly, I stumbled into the black hole of caregiving, which sucks everything nearby into its life-and-death necessities. Its gravity trumped it all—or it did for me. I lived in the future, believing it would be better…then. I would make a coming-from-behind-victory as a software mogul to be financially secure, find a better man who would really see me, find replacement family to belong to, etc. In the effort of the middle days, I looked forward to the ending days, as some vague afterlife—after Betty.
Even if we must wait—it is better to Wait Here and now…awake to the resources within reach.
I am remembering back to those moments when I managed to get a present-tense view of things. Somewhere in the anguished muck of Betty’s dying, we told the truth. These were moments when the past and future bracketed me. Driven by overload, or wisdom to now and to here, I found myself and options. Those, unfortunately rare, moments were hyper-real and a true compass to growing a new life.
I need to wait like a cat hunts…or a seed waits out winter…or a Buddha with equanimity, or in a more Judeo-Christian framing, it is about waiting on the Lord.
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.--Isaiah 40:31, ESV
In tango, it is all about being present to the next step. The leader moves, the follower shadows and makes a responsive step. It is a collaboration. It is attentive waiting. The follower then pauses with complete attention for the next indication from her leader. Sometimes in tango these pauses in the motion are the most delicious part of the dance. The extended daguerreotype holds the tension in the stillness and calls to the next step. Residing in the present tense is like this: “Wait, here.”
Don’t just do something, sit there.”—Thich Nhat Hanh
You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait. Do not even wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, And it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.—Franz Kafka, The Zurau Aphorisms
Wait Here might be your next best move—an important internal shift facilitated by stillness. Living in the future stopped me from seeing what was right in front of me—real choices not just more-of-the-same anxious looping. Wait Here.
Stop struggling. Have a quantum of faith, Wait Here for the goodness to catch up