The Waiting Game

Heather finally made it.

Those of you who have been following the adventures of my wife know that she’s repeatedly almost received an infusion for her multiple sclerosis, only to be rescheduled at the last minute due to a temperature. (I’ve always thought she was too hot for the room, but this is something else.) But a few days ago, we finally broke the cycle.

Yay!

Her prize? To sit for more than seven hours with an IV in her arm, trying to keep it from popping out or giving her an allergic reaction.

Uh … yay?

By the time she got home, her back had joined the Rebellion. Her arms were sore. Her body was fatigued as only those who have spent a full day in the locked and upright position can be.

Did it work? It may be a couple of months before we know. And then, win or lose, we get to do this again six months from now. Once again, the latest round of the Waiting Game (trademark pending) is on us.

Thankfully, we’re good at waiting.

Well … not good in the sense of “I am impassive to the world; let me become one with the universe/the Force/the complete works of Bob Dylan until it is time for me to unexpectedly reach out and trap a moving fly in my chopsticks.” That would be kind of awesome, not least because we could count on getting a part in the next Karate Kid reboot.

No, when it comes to waiting, we’re like a lot of experienced pros: resigned at best and impatient at worst. We don’t really like it. We wish we didn’t have to. But we’ve done it before and we’ll do it again, because that’s the only way that progress gets made.

More often than not, you move forward fastest by learning to stand still.

I’m catching a few nods out there. Long-term change of any kind – pregnancy, surgical recovery, dedicated Rockies fan – tends to require patience most of all. It’s even true in the political realm. It’s a truism in history that most revolutions fail; the ones that make it have laid down years, sometimes decades, of groundwork and have a tenacity that goes beyond the moment of adrenaline.

But there’s a trap. Don’t mistake patience for passivity. Waiting is not just sitting back and letting the world happen to you; it’s anticipating for the moment and preparing for it.

In the musical Hamilton, Aaron Burr sings that “I am not standing still – I am lying in wait.” There is a difference. You endure, yes, but you don’t just endure.

Heather isn’t waiting for the MS to magically resolve itself, any more than political change or decent relief pitching just falls out of the sky. She’s a participant in her own healing, even if that participation consists of waiting for the right moment to take certain small, specific actions, and finding ways to hold together in the meantime.

It’s not easy, especially for someone who would rather step up and take control now. Especially when there’s so much going on that screams for immediate help. But in the long term, care and patience usually leads to an answer that lasts.

Patience. Not despair. Not giving up. Not zoning out.

The next move in the game will come.

Hopefully with a good book and an IV that knows how to hold still.

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