The Waiting Place

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In his book, Oh, the Places You'll Go, Dr. Seuss writes about something he calls "a most useless place:" The Waiting Place. It is "for people just waiting.

Waiting for a train to go

or a bus to come, or a plane to go

or the mail to come, or the rain to go

or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow

or waiting around for a Yes or No

or waiting for their hair to grow.

Everyone is just waiting."

While I'm not waiting around for public transportation or a new hairstyle, The Waiting Place is where I find myself reluctantly lingering these days. Ironically, I've been waiting to snap out of it.

I'm waiting – for that place called "Home."

I've found it difficult to call any place home since my husband's ministry has required several moves. Home suggests roots and community, not a fleeting affair.

As I wade through my 40s, that obscure thing called "home" beckons me. I wish to spend more time with my parents and sisters. Our twice-a-year visits are simply not enough. My heart desires more.

I'd like to see them often enough that we no longer clean our houses as we prepare for the other's arrival. I'd like our visits to stop feeling like an event - like we must suck the life out of one another while we're together, because one of us will need to leave again soon. I'd like the opportunity to be bored of them, to run out of things to say.

And I wonder if it's wrong to wait for home when I have a family of my own.

I'm waiting – for that big break.

There are days I fantasize about becoming a barista at Starbucks instead of being a writer. For over a year now, I've checked my email (obsessively, at times) waiting to hear that the project I've been working on will be accepted by someone who sees its potential. Writing can be exhilarating - and absolutely tormenting.

Sometimes, I say no to the voices that call me to the page and tell them to leave me alone. I tell them they're failing me. I reason with them, telling them there's no future in them.

"Don't you realize that The Tribune Company has filed bankruptcy?" I ask. "No one wants you!"

On my most discouraging days, I tell the voices that, when I write them, no one reads them anyway. Fortunately, they know better. They keep speaking and I am compelled to keep listening. I jot their ideas down and massage them on a black and white screen. I write ? I edit ? I press send ? I wait.

April 04, 2009 at 9:45 AM

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