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Waiting

August 26, 2019

I once read that the average person spends about 1/3 of their life waiting.  This isn’t hard for me to believe.  I’m the dad of 3 daughters and the husband of one wife.  At the risk of sounding sexist and cranky, I think I’ve spent a little more than 33% of my life waiting.  My wife and daughters will tell you we’re even, though, because they’ve spent an equal amount of their lives waiting for me.  They’re probably right.

I’m writing this from the comfort of an easy chair in our Berlin Open Door Library, Connections.  We’ve been here in Berlin for a week.  We come about three times a year as part of our member care role with ODL (Open Door Libraries).  We have never rented a vehicle, though.  There’s no good reason for us to.  Public transportation here is easy to access from nearly anywhere in the city, runs like you’d think a German operation would, and is far less expensive than renting a car and then having to fill it with gas at ∈1,60.9 per liter.  (There are 3.7 liters per gallon, and right now the exchange rate is .88 Euro to $1.  If you do the math, there’s no good outcome on this.)  Plus, riding the buses and Ubahn and Sbahn offer unique cultural experiences.

When you take public transit, though, you set yourself up for a lot of waiting.  Waiting for the bus to get to the stop.  Waiting through a dozen or so stops before you get to your destination.  Waiting to get back on the bus after you’re through with whatever you did, and then a dozen more stops on the way back.  We’re staying about 5 miles south of Connections.  By bus, it takes us about 35 minutes to get here.  We’ve had our quota of waiting this week.  Gratefully, we’ve been here in June, when waiting for the bus is much easier than it was when we were here in November, freezing in the early winter winds.

Those of you who know me know that I am not good at waiting.  I usually avoid it.  I’m that guy dodging in and out to get in a shorter line at the self-check center at Walmart.  I hate it when I get behind a person in a check-out line who waits until the cashier hands them the receipt to start digging in their purse or pockets to find their wallet.  Or the one who wants to get the cashier’s life story, and then tell them theirs on their way out.  Waiting vexes me.  Sorry.  I’d like to tell you I’m more mature, but I’m not.  Ask Debbie.

I’m a long way from how I hope one day to be with all this, but I’m better than I used to be.  Give me a gold star and a pat on the back.  And a sugar cookie if you’ve got one handy.

All this waiting has me thinking about the role of waiting in marriage and family life.  I can’t think of waiting without thinking of it’s shadow, impatience.  One of my regrets about my young-father-days is how impatient I was.  I think if you’d have asked my kids when they were young what they thought my motto was, they would have said, “Hurry up!”

From → Marriage

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