I’ve always been unsettled by hospitals. As a biological science student and an avid watcher of House MD, hospitals leave me unsettled to say the least (all due respect to those in the medical field). If I’m being completely transparent, I’m sitting in one now, waiting with hands shaking…
Over the last two weeks, I’ve grown to develop an even deeper disdain for them. Yes, they’re a necessary evil, but I’ve spent some time becoming a part of the furniture here; learning the looks of withheld pain and restrained relief, welcoming the faces of strangers who’ve taken a warm place in your heart.
You become acquainted with the subtleties of the room and find the most comfortable spot to fall asleep in. All this while you wait.
In the waiting room
Have I already mentioned that I despise waiting? I’m part of the microwave generation. Patience isn’t our strength and our needs have to be met as quickly as possible. Inevitably, what does the world hand us? Waiting rooms, lobbies and comfort rooms. We’ve been handed designated areas to get comfortable, have some private time and get our waiting done.
Merriam-Webster gives the definition of wait as “staying in place in expectation”. True to its definition, that’s what I’ve witnessed a waiting room to be. A place of great expectation. When you’re in the waiting room, you have a growing expectation.
Whether that’s an expectation of the doctors, hospital staff or their reports there is a palpable expectation in this room filled with loved ones and strangers.
Often times we risk the misplacement of our expectations as a result of our perceptions from within the waiting room, rather than our knowledge of what lies outside its doors.
What to do while you wait
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
(Deuteronomy chapter 31, verse 6)
The first step in any situation that scares you is not to panic. I’ve used Deuteronomy chapter 31, verse 6 as an anchor to hold onto when fear and anxiety set in. I am my mother’s child, and that makes me highly emotional in high-stress situations. Keeping an anchor verse helps soothe the general sense of panic that seeks to settle into the crevices of the unknown territory of waiting. Rather than panic, opt to remain prayerful; speaking the truth of God into seemingly barren waiting rooms brings forth hope and life.
There will always be others in the waiting room with you. Their waiting may be different than yours, but they still share the room with you. Why not make a few friends while you wait? We were not created for a life of solitude, even though the waiting room may be the one place we seek a moment’s solidarity.
I’ve seen these moments in the waiting room to be an opportunity to connect with people when they need comfort the most. Sometimes sharing your faith is better done through your acts of love and behaviour than the mere ability to quote Scripture. The waiting room is a place that can be used to bring people together and create community when it’s needed the most.
Do not wait in emptiness, allowing the void to be filled with negativity and doubt. Use the waiting room as a space created for listening. God-breathed whispers only become audible when we silence the surrounding noise and chaos in our environment. To be still and listen doesn’t imply doing nothing while you wait. Actively seek to delve deeper, listen with greater intent and trust that He who began a good work will finish see it to completion (see Philippians chapter 1, verse 6).
Use the waiting room
Rather than become a captive to the waiting room and its halls, choose to use it to your advantage. As counterintuitive as this may seem, you can use the waiting room as a rich environment that can be cultivated for growth – both spiritually and emotionally. The silence while you wait can be deafening, isolating even, but choosing to wait on the Lord for strength and guidance stretches your faith and grows your trust in Him. Do not fear the waiting room, use it.
I’ve chosen to see the waiting room not as a place of delay, although in my human nature it tests my patience. I choose to see it as a place of expectation. Placing our hope not in a man, but in the everlasting God who meets us where we are. The waiting room has become a place of expecting to see wonders, embrace people and share love. Remain expectant in your waiting room, despite how unsettled it may make you feel, for God knows the end from the beginning and all we need to is wait on Him.
Crystelda Naidoo hails from South Africa. She is an avid nerd and an unapologetic dreamer. She has completed a BSc. Biological Sciences and BCom Hons. having majored in marketing, and has since launched the lifestyle blog - Selah Blogger - targeted at empowering women in their daily lives. The blog can be found at http://www.selahblogger.wordpress.com