Patient Waiting, Hopeful Missing

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Life is training me in patient waiting and hopeful missing.

Due to the pandemic, my mom and I haven’t done any of our treasured walks this summer. But after three months, we both felt comfortable doing this with masks, and we explored the prairie path together on Saturday.

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As we walked, mom talked about things she misses after seven years of being a stroke survivor: cooking, gardening, aerobics, riding horses, going for walks without a wheelchair or cane. Our conversations often return to this place of missing and longing for restoration.

I think there’s something spiritually profound about our missing. We don’t simply move on and forget the blessings of life. We miss them, carry them in our memory, and yearn for them to be restored, even after many years and no sign of their restoration.

I see the ache of missing as a rebellious clue of hope. What we miss will be restored, but not often quickly and not always in this life. We must wait patiently. The horizon of the resurrection gives us hope in our missing as something deep in our bones tells us that we were made for goodness — for freedom, health, and togetherness. Our deepest desires are a clue to our destiny.

Being on the path with my mom, after three months of waiting during a pandemic, was a tiny taste of that ultimate hope, even as we miss and feel the anguish of our waiting.

What can fuel our patience and hope as we wait and miss?

After our walk, mom thanked me for asking her questions, listening to her memories, and wanting to know her more while we walked. She said that our time together was one of the most meaningful she can remember.

Isn’t this so true and powerful for all of us?

Even after nearly 75 years on this earth and a lifetime of relationship, we still want to be heard and known more deeply. We crave for our memories to be unlocked through questions, for our longings to be listened to, and for our lives to be treasured with love’s patient attention.

Ours would be a more peaceful, prosperous world if we would ask one another gentle questions and listen with patient attention. This is the beginning of peace and the fuel we need to hope while we wait and miss in our brokenness.

As Dr King admonished us, “Walk together, children. Don’t you grow weary.”

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