Maybe that’s what life is about – waiting and moving forward at the same time. This seems to be contradictory, I know, but sometimes the only way to move forward is to wait, even while we take a step day by day.
I know this is true for my writing. I feel very much like I need to work on a big project, and I keep thinking I’ve found one, but then, that one loses luster and I move on to another idea. I just keep waiting for some clarity on what I should delve into completely.
Meanwhile, I work on what I know I can do. I write every day, even if just a little, because I can do this. I may not be able to do exactly what I dream of doing, but this is moving me forward, one word and one step at a time. This morning I finished an essay – at least I finished the essay as best I can with what I know now. So I am at a new stage of waiting as I look forward to the feedback from my writer friends. Tomorrow, I will wake and work on something else. This is how I move forward, even as I wait.
As in all things to do with writing, the idea applies to life – at least my life, too. Sometimes there are situations for which there is not action that you can take beyond the simple practice of begging for the patience to wait. I am in – for many reasons – one of those places now. I am trying, as Anne Lamott (in Grace (Eventually)) describes when she has a particularly bad day:
I remembered an old sermon of Veronica’s in which she said that when we are with other people, they should be able to see Jesus’ love in our faces, his tender-compassion in our hands. Sometimes I think that Jesus watches my neurotic struggles, and shakes his head and grips his forehead and starts tossing back mojitos. . . . This time I decided to fake it and pretend that I had believed what Veronica said, and respond to myself as gently as I would to you; this is all I am every really hungry for. I got myself some cool water, a pair of soft socks: scootch, scootch, scootch. Then waves of nausea and self-loathing, backtrack, bog. I thought of all the times my friends have given off light in the darkness, by their generosity, by trying to help in the world, by simply making it through the hard patches with a little dignity, so that other people could see this could be done. So I was simply kind to myself, and I scootched. I burped my terrible Cyclops burps, which brought such relief that I finally remembered who I was: one of the sometimes miserable all-of-us.
I am, to be honest, in the place of the sometimes miserable, but I keep scootching while I wait. Scootch. Scootch. Scootch.