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Waiting in Gratitude

By: Tracy K. Hall

I’ve never seen it in person, but I can imagine it. On November 1 at midnight a phenomenon happens in our world. In my mind it takes all of 5 minutes. We pack up all that speaks of monsters, superheroes, fairies and bite size pieces of sweet goodness. We unceremoniously discount everything Halloween and designate it to the discount rack so we can move on. We pull out all things Christmas shiny and bright. On October 31, life is 190 pieces of cheap candy in a $10 bag. On November 1, it is a winter wonderland. And we like it that way. We like to move things along; we don’t do well in waiting. Waiting rooms, waiting in line, waiting for 5:00, waiting for dinner, waiting for test results, waiting for a phone call, waiting for the new season to come out, waiting for payday, waiting for the oven to preheat, waiting for the rain to let up, waiting for a better day, waiting until we can afford it, waiting at the red light, on and on with the waiting. And we hate it. We don’t do well waiting. It is not something we would choose for ourselves. Given the opportunity to eliminate waiting, most of us would resoundingly vote yes. We want the instant satisfaction of complete dismantlement and moving on to the next thing. We are a “next thing” kind of people. “Keep it moving!” is our battle cry and we are dedicated soldiers.

Because we are a “I can’t wait!” culture, we miss out. Just like our stores, we miss thanksgiving. Oh, the best of us have learned to turn waiting into thanksgiving. The wise among us have learned waiting is a gift. Waiting is often where gratitude and thanksgiving live. Waiting, if received as the gift it is, is a sacred time. What if we put as much emphasis on savoring our time as we put on pushing through it? What if God really has a chance with us in our waiting? Would we hurry through as often if we knew He can be found in our waiting? Would we sprint through gratitude if we realized giving praise was the stuff feeding our souls? Thanksgiving takes time, it deserves time. It means we wait with hope, soaking in all that is beautiful and faithful surrounding us.

We Halls will gather for Thanksgiving. There is a tradition my family set years back. Daddy will go around to each chair, lay his hands on our shoulders and offer a blessing over us. It takes a while; daddy takes his time with his prayers. He doesn’t rush when it comes to gratitude. I will soak up every word. I will be painfully aware I will ache for daddy’s Thanksgiving prayers someday. I won’t hurry him. I will sit in gratitude and linger. It is going to take sweet time. And I will count it joy to wait.