I sat in my car in the faculty parking lot, waiting for my husband. I had finished my day job and we’d go home to prepare dinner and do whatever. Often I had to wait for Bill as his office hours at the college were not 9 to 5. I came prepared, loosing a book from the door’s side pocket, and began reading where I’d left off. Being productive while waiting.
That happened years ago. I’m now reading a book by Elizabeth Reynolds Turnage titled The Waiting Room: 60 meditations for finding peace & hope in a health crisis. It’s taken me back to the 24 days when Bill was in Union Hospital, Terre Haute, Indiana, with Legionnaire’s disease.
Lots of time waiting – for doctors to visit, for Bill to receive diagnosis and care, for his release time. I recall one morning when Pastor Dan joined me as we waited for a procedure that didn’t happen. He had given generously of his time and we shared life stories.
Today’s reading quoted that familiar verse Jeremiah 29:11 about God’s plans for His people. “I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (NIV). We tend to make present-day application and don’t consider the context. The people from Jerusalem lived in exile in Babylon. The Lord spoke through Jeremiah to tell the people to be productive during their 70-year wait before returning home. Build houses, grow gardens, marry and have children. And most surprising of all, pray for the prosperity of Babylon.
These days my waiting times look different. Currently I’m waiting for the proof of Bill’s third book, The Scandal of Christmas, four Advent messages. I’ve approved the cover design and illustrations. It’s exciting, but I admit to being anxious about this book being available in time for pre-Advent sales. The first Sunday in Advent is November 28. So how can I make this waiting time productive?
Clean the refrigerator? Tackle the clothes that need ironing? Work on other writing projects? Such as revising my companion book for The Pilgrim’s Progress, compiling my devotions for a new publication, looking over Bill’s transcripts, or reading.
I’m also waiting on Bill, not in the sense that I’m expecting him to do something. It’s like putting aside my expectations and being available for what new changes he makes. What will he forget and what will he want us to do today? He likes to take rides in the country; so will I wait on what I want to do and accommodate his wishes? How do I judge which waiting is more productive?