There is a song by the band WolfParade, called ‘Shine a Light’ and these lyrics from it…
You know our hearts beat time out very slowly.
You know our hearts beat time.
They’re waiting for something that’ll never arrive.
The image that our hearts are nothing more than clocks ticking away all the seconds of our life. Measuring the distance between one moment and the next. A constant beating that is there within us, a muscle tightening and releasing over and over again as we live. The soft drum, to each good and bad second. The truth of the idea that life is waiting and that we are always waiting on something.
James and I have been together for seven years. In those seven years our hearts have beaten around 294 million times. Many more of those 294 million beats have been apart. Beat after beat, waiting to live together in our own space. As that waiting elapses, I feel a deep gratitude that the waiting meant something, that it has drawn from us a deep and fruitful understanding of what it means to be together. Life has timing.
Many, months ago I had written, ‘I shouldn’t worry about when James and I will be together but realise that when I’m least waiting on it, it will happen, when I’m busy enjoying everything else and what we already have.’ Wisdom takes time to realise.
This morning my heart along with many more hearts beat 80 times in the sudden silence of a waiting train. A minute pause. Those times of hushed quiet amongst so much that can be noisy always get me. All those human minds internally chattering away, some worrying, some remembering and some being inspired, and yet, outwardly there is no sign of any of this private commotion. Instead, blank and quietly staring faces, all collectively waiting for the train to grind into life again.
Most of the time we are waiting for the small things to happen each day; the kettle to boil, the train to arrive, our favourite tv program to begin . Swirling somewhere deep within us though are the big things we are waiting for life to unfurl and reveal; to finally live with the person you have loved for seven years, reaching that dream point in your career that satisfies all those years of getting by in a less than satisfying job, that moment of divine clarity when the world makes sense and life is filled with purpose and truly realising how much the people in your life matter.
In all this, it is how you go about the waiting that matters and what you can learn from the long stretches of nothing happening. The building of your character so that it knows resilience; and training your mind to hum a sense of hope through you, and not despair.
It is how you wait that is important and what you learn when you wait. Life is all about waiting on things, getting to that next point in our own construction of the paths we should set for ourselves. The question to answer is how to wait most effectively.