Okay, I get it. It’s lovely to sit on a bench by the harbor and watch the sun set, my dog, Rudy, happily sniffing around. That kind of waiting is fun. Relaxing. It doesn’t matter when the sun dips down below the horizen, when it gets dark, when the clouds go from light pink to deep crimson. But other kinds of waiting are awful, whether that’s being held in suspense until you get the results of medical tests, or waiting in a crowded airport while your flight is delayed, or in my case, sending off a new book to an editor, caught in a trickly balance between hope and despair.
I give myself lectures. I tell myself, “Listen up. You can’t give that kind of power over your future to someone else,” and it sounds smart and reasonable. But if you’re doing something you love, and if getting it out into the world is dependent on other people, then the waiting is dark and heavy. I’ve learned tricks over the years: start a new project, get readers to help you see the work more clearly, tell yourself in the words of T.S. Eliot to “care and not to care.” But I do care. Especially when I’ve put the best of myself into it for several years, then it’s more than a project, it’s me and not me, a best friend. And what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t care whether or not it was knocked over, trampled, forgotten?
If you feel brave, share with me and others what has helped you wait. Maybe you practice deep breathing. Maybe you sing or pray. Maybe you just watch your dog the way I watch Rudy, the late sun glinting off his dark fur. And just maybe, that is enough.