Yesterday, I spent some time with a friend in the afternoon. We talked and ate and played with her kids, getting them in and out of princess dresses and pajamas. We did dishes and went grocery shopping. Any second, she will go into labor with her third child. We wait. Pregnancy is, perhaps, a classic example of waiting. During the Advent season, we ponder Mary, the mother of Jesus, waiting to bear the Son of God, and we wait, caught between His two comings, for Him to appear again. We wait for this, in Advent and otherwise, but like my friend and I, we are not idle.
It is easy for me to think of singleness as one big time of preparation. In many ways, this feels rooted in the culture in which I live. When I rock a child to sleep or construct a particularly delicious appetizer, it may feel like preparation for motherhood and marriage, I, and other people, have said this out loud.
For me, it has been true that God does not waste things. Conversations, and relationships and classes I chose to take have given me just the tools I’ve needed for my particular life. I have been prepared, and that has not stopped. Lately, I’ve realized that the question I haven’t been asking is: “for what?” I have assumed that I knew the answer.
My life has not gone the way I thought it would, not just in regards to singleness, but in general. The opportunities I’ve had, the friends I’ve made, and the person I’m becoming are different from what I expected, but it is right. This feels elementary, but I forget it too often, God knows better than I know, and He is more specific about me than I ever could be. He prepares and He shapes and He molds me for what He has for me on this planet, and I trust that He will take me safely Home, once it’s done.
I could call this a waiting period, this time on earth before Heaven. I could call it a waiting period in life, since I have dreams and I’m working toward things which have not yet come to pass. But I don’t. Waiting is just a word, but for me it is one which lets me off the hook. When I’m waiting, it means that I have time to kill. It means that now doesn’t matter.
The only way I want to wait, is on the Lord, like a servant, listening expectantly for the sound of her Master’s voice, eager to do the will of the One I serve. Servants are not generally known for lollygagging. It is hard to picture a member of the cast of Downton Abbey standing near the bells, willing one to ring. They listen, but they do other things in the process. It is impossible to prepare for everything which might be asked at the next ring, so they do not, they do only what they know to do right now.
Whether or not I ever become a mother, or a wife, it is good to know how to rock a baby to sleep, and to make a delicious appetizer. It is good to know how to listen to God, so that when He calls to me, I will answer, no matter what He says.