Wednesday, March 14, 2007

the waiting is the hardest part...

Perhaps there is only one cardinal sin: impatience. Because of impatience we were driven out of Paradise, because of impatience we cannot return.
~ W.H. Auden

And you may ask yourself, what is that beautiful house?And you may ask yourself, where does that highway go?And you may ask yourself, am I right? Am I wrong?And you may tell yourself, my God! What have I done?
~ Talking Heads

Probably the closest thing I’ve had to my dream house is the one Gretchen and I refer to affectionately and simply as “the Hillcrest house.” Despite the fact that it was falling apart - the rent was cheap, the location was perfect, and the porch was fabulous! It was rarely as festive as we had dreams of it being, since our friends tended to be scattered about, but it definitely had its shining moments.

Growing up, change was just another abnormal part of life ~ people, houses, circumstances… everything was consistently in flux. I always had an infatuation with houses. I would draw house plans with a separate room for every activity imaginable and individual bedrooms for each of my eight children. I pored over home decorating magazines and noted the necessities for a cozy abode: lots of windows (check), throw pillows (check), fresh flowers (check, check). I even cut out a picture of the perfect laundry room.

After living in a dorm for four years, I immediately grabbed myself an apartment after graduating from college. A cheap two-bedroom in Southwest Little Rock (I had taken a job in addiction services for a mere $18,000 salary), was quickly filled with flea market finds and cheap-but-cozy-what-nots to create an instant first home. And the little snowball of debt that had formed in college started rolling.

I had practiced waiting all of my life (though rarely voluntarily), and I had given into the lie that having a job meant you didn’t have to wait anymore. If I want it, I should get it. After all, I’ll pay for it… eventually.

I’m paying for it now. And payment = patience. I got a bug to open a Bed and Breakfast back in my junior year of college, when I went by myself to Boston and stayed in a tiny leaky room with a shared bathroom at a B&B run by a very eccentric old man. I was smitten. That desire has only intensified, fueled by the idea of giving my friends who are headed out all over the world a place to call home in Little Rock, even if they have no family here. While I’m very good at planning everything I would do with my “Guest House”, I am less skilled at implementing the necessary steps to get out of debt and save money to make the dream a reality. And the older I get, the more I feel like I deserve it now… whether or not I have done anything needed to acquire it. I suppose maturity doesn’t automatically come with age.

Patience requires true and hard examination of priorities. It requires consistency and determination. It requires wise stewardship. I like flexibility. I like surrounding myself with artifacts. I like giving… whether or not I have it to give. Patience means surrendering what you want today, for what may come tomorrow. There is no guarantee in patience.

I have a True Love Waits card I signed in high school. I’m still waiting. Somehow with this commitment I know that the payoff of waiting is so much greater than the fleeting enjoyment of giving in… yet I also know that there is no guarantee of marriage. I’m ok with that. So why is this business of sacrificing immediate gratification of material wants now for the greater possibility of my dream later so difficult for me to wrap my heart around?

This is my dream porch. I don’t know these people (wish I did… its The Be Good Tanyas and friends), but they’re on my porch. A gathering spot… music… conversation… laughter… rejuvenation. This is what the wait is for.

I’m gazing in these deep well waters, where the pennies of my life have all been cast. I’ve decided I am going to save my money to do something that lasts. I’m past the wishing.
~ Sara Groves


Ramonsito said...

I'm calling the second step from the top on that porch.

Brilliant post, my friend. One sorely needed for me in a time of feeling like I'm waiting to be somewhere else. But I'm learning to simply be; that's the journey after all.

g-stank said... sometimes i think that i'll fly into little rock and that that's where i'll be staying shomehow. and it will look exactly like it did when we lived there.

if i ever get a tattoo, it will probably involve the words "715 n. spruce."

aubrey said...


i read this letter on a couple of days ago and it seems so, so appropo:

Dear Hurt,

I had to do several things before answering your letter. I had to sit quietly with the dogs. I had to eat toast with jam. I had to read Pat Schneider on discipline in the writers life. I had to call my brother about our mother. I did these things.

What I want to get across to you is the spirit of waiting in amazement and respect. What this sounds like is a kind of weather that requires waiting, like a storm you can't stop, or time to the minute or adjust yourself to either, it's beyond you, what is going on. Beyond you.

The answer to your question is an attitude of waiting. As if you couldn't believe how long the storm has gone on and have started thinking maybe you should just go to bed and see if it's clear in the morning. Remember on long trips you would just have to wait it out and the adults stay up, looking out the curtains, saying my, my! at the thunder?

Waiting frees up some time. You can just go to bed and see how it is tomorrow.

I think you just have to wait, my friend.

Maybe I am not saying it all just the way it should be said.

But I think you know what I mean.


I had to copy it down in my journal because I am waiting too and I needed to hear this. Your post is great.

much love, asd

Bobbi said...

and i ask myself....wonder how I passed through here? and it is always great when the passing comes with a tune you can carry...regarding your b&b dream? you might enjoy my notes. I love yours.