The urgency of waiting

I am not at the top of the list of ‘successful meditators’ nor of ‘creative poets’ but I woke yesterday morning to the words ‘the urgency of waiting’ which I understood was highlighting the need to wait amidst what we consider to be ever so urgent to get on with.

I thought about

  • A thousand years is as but a day
  • Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength
  • Imitating those who through faith and patience inherited the promises
  • The woman who went through the ritual of dropping her two coins in the temple offering
  • The person who moves too quickly is liable to miss their way
  • The instruction to ‘Stand at the crossroads and look,
    and ask for the ancient paths,
    where the good way lies; and walk in it,
    and find rest for your souls.’

The urgency of waiting

Don’t delay, get on with it, later is always too late
urgent, understand urgency
don’t put it off
respond, act, move
and then I hear…
the urgency of waiting
don’t wait when you have nothing to do
but wait when you have so much to do
this is truly urgent.

The urgent, the pressure
but avoid it and survive? And yet it always comes round again to call, to persecute
so why wait? To procrastinate but have some life might be the way
but still I hear
the urgency of waiting

I wait, I slow, distractions press in
I fear the urgent will dictate
but I wait, I refuse the tyrannical voice
I gain sight, not much, peace and breath they come
but too slowly
and I am done with waiting.

I know what is urgent, what calls for movement and
I know the voice of demand
that uses language I understand
a voice I can hear and obey.

And yet I ask in those moments did I truly hear
and if I heard what was it that came…
words of life and freedom
or simply a map for my future?

A new way, a new movement forward
standing and waiting, listening until…
but nothing comes and I return to the obscure map of the urgent.

I turn once more. I have to turn

‘Aside’, a different place, a location that is unfamiliar
for no map has been made, no clock has been fashioned
and so unfamiliar is this location that I don’t…
and yet a different sight, even a different breath
a new rhythm, a new harmony
simply arrives.

I will try this again for the old map though,
old and familiar has never
mapped the future.

How much can I see, what can I truly hear
what can I sense? Important questions
answered in the urgency of waiting.

10 thoughts on “The urgency of waiting

  1. This is amazing and in itself calls to be read aloud,,taken a line at a time ,reread,given time,no hurry.I am a committed fiction reader,very picky but have learnt so much over the years from the pens of others.Recently I’ve read a book called Old God’s Time in which nothing is quite what it seems.Less and less is there any appeal in waiting.I have been known to get very anxious ( yes really) when I’m unwell and I feel Im losing/ wasting so much time when I could or should be doing such and such.I think too there can be a tendency to compare the amount others are fitting into their lives. and anything less is time wasted.Im finding that in God’s economy nothing is wasted.Now if I find myself pushing ahead for goodness knows what purpose,I can wait,sit,be still and whisper Old God’s Time and it’s ok.Martin,And in waiting I hope we discover,uncover,recover to all sorts of challenging fresh beautiful treasures that can change our thinking and our journeys.

  2. Brilliant poem Martin. Really profound and rich in meaning so much to it to unpack! I do relate to this been waiting a very long time for stuff and trying to speed God’s timing up is not best idea. Patience is hard, perseverance is hard and waiting so frustrating and demoralising yet a learning tool if we choose to be taught by it and not give up!

  3. I am reading a book right now called “The Exhausted of the Earth, Politics in a Burning World” by Ajay Singh Chaudhary. He speaks not only to how we have exhausted the planet but that most of us are also exhausted and in need of rest. That we live in a world, particularly under hyper-capitalism, that demands that we go and go and go. He calls for a new economics that will give us and the planet rest. And rest is what we seek when we wait. We wait and rest with eyes open, ears and other senses attuned in order to learn the next steps. It is restful but alert.

    Yesterday, I finally got to watch the video, ‘The Biggest Little Farm’. It is the story of a young couple in LA who bought an exhausted farm with dead soil, no production at all, no potential at all. And over the course of 7 years regenerated the soil and the land and made it thrive. Many hard lessons along the way especially with livestock and predators. But the farmer who also was the film maker spoke about how he would have to not take action, instead sit back, wait, rest, watch, learn. Instead of rushing to solve a problem, he needed to step back to see it properly. He had to wait. In time he realized that many of the predators that he saw as enemies of production were actually his friends as they would remove other ‘pests’ that threatened the farm.

    Regeneration and restoration, those are our tasks as a human species now. And to do so we need to stop, rest, wait, watch, listen, learn.

  4. New in the Uk theses past two days has been the governments plan to get sick people (or maybe not so sick in their opinion) back to work- a very significant number. All parents ideally working 35-40 hours and children in child care with help to stay mentally healthy in the process is the plan- get with the programme or don’t get help. Headline- ‘Why are we so sick?’. Drven by the urgency- complicated yes, but financial decisions rule over human ones-no time to wait, pause listen, change.

    Thanks Martin

  5. You’ve beautifully captured the essence of my experience during the ‘lockdown’ months. It was a significant and positive period for me, though its impact was primarily intellectual at the time.
    It wasn’t until a year later, when I learned about the cancer I was carrying, that this message, this truth, reached the depths of my being. It had a profound impact on me. It was then that my thoughts, attitudes, outlook, and behaviour began to undergo a transformative change.
    I’m incredibly grateful for this new way of living and seeing the world, but I wish I had embraced it decades ago!
    Thank you once again for responding to, and sharing, these ‘nudges’, Martin.

  6. Hmm…once again, Martin, you cause me to ponder. Too much of my waiting (in the past) has been to find a map for my future…instead of hearing words of life and freedom. The times…they are a-changin…

    And yet I ask in those moments did I truly hear
    and if I heard what was it that came…
    words of life and freedom
    or simply a map for my future?

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