I’ve spent most of my life looking to the future, dreaming, and waiting. When I was young, I waited for a better house, meeting “the right person”, and turning 18 so I could start my own life. I wanted something better than what I had. I dreamed of what my reality might look like in a far-off-distant future. I’d have a husband who loved me, children I would love deeply, and a community where I could feel safe and secure—where I would belong in a real place that I could call home, not just in some make-believe dream.
The summer I turned 18, I began to make this dream real. I moved away from my home town and stayed with my aunts, waiting for my first semester of college to start. The following summer I met my husband, Ryan. Over the next few years I continued to work and wait—to get married, discover what I wanted to do as a career, finish various educational degrees, and to get into grad school. (I was wait-listed twice for my program at a local university.)
As a young adult, I waited for jobs to fall into place and for jobs to end. I waited for my daughter to talk and walk and run and play. Perhaps the most difficult waiting of all was for my dear boy Morgan. I had dreamed I would have a son, but I had a miscarriage, and the 12 months that followed were excruciating. Every day when I looked around my home, someone was missing. I longed for this gaping hole to be filled, and every month for a year I agonized over each recurring pee stick of betrayal ( the pregnancy tests which showed that I wasn’t pregnant).
Eventually waiting turned to puking and puking turned to more waiting—waiting for the madness of my hyperemesis gravidarium (extreme nausea and vomiting) to end; waiting for my baby to be born and for my family to be complete.
All my life I have waited, and it has just recently occurred to me that I now have much of what I waited for so desperately—everything that I sought to feed my soul and make me whole again and the wondrous new life that I dreamed of and worked so hard to create. I have a husband who loves me (even if not always in the ways I expect), two beautiful children, and a life-giving career. I have a home that is safe and a community where I belong.
And I wonder, “What now?”
What do I do now that I have everything I spent my whole life waiting for? How do I transition from constantly looking to the future and waiting for something better than now, to a place of intentional gratitude in which I savor the beauty of each moment and consistently treasure the challenges and wonderfulness of today?