Waiting, Seeing, Creating

The older I get, the more I am convinced that Dr. Seuss had it all figured out. If you want to understand our environmental predicament, read “The Lorax.” If you want an ode to the imagination, go after “And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street.” And if you want to know about life, dreams, and what it is to try to get through it all, read “Oh the Places You’ll Go.”

I know “The Waiting Place” better than I’d like to. I venture out, explore, reflect, live in the moment, but sooner or later, I recognize it. I’ve circled back to the waiting place. As much as I try to be my own man; as much as I try to be open to God’s voice and direction; as much as I try to be open to the Universe, God and the Universe move at their own pace, not mine. And so, the waiting.

It can be a habit. But waiting doesn’t have to be just sitting around. I can wait actively. I am not in prison. And even in prison, there are role models for how to wait.

Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman sitting outside on the benches playing checkers and talking in a scene from the film 'The Shawshank Redemption', 1994. (Photo by Castle Rock Entertainment/Getty Images)

Andy Dufresne, of Shawshank Redemption fame, had more meaningful adventures behind bars than most free men have. But he came to a point where he realized it was time to make a change, even at the cost of his life. I realize there are movies and books that I come back to a good bit, and Shawshank will likely continue to be one of them. Andy’s “get busy living, or get busy dying,” sticks in my soul as a life mantra. A reminder.

Dufresne and Louis Goldstein could have been peeps. The only words I remember from my Washington College graduation were Goldstein’s, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” That was his take on “God helps those who help themselves.” Maybe you’re in the waiting place, well, get up and do something about it, or don’t expect to move very far.

When we are in the waiting place, we can feel stuck. Or I can. And part of that reason is because we know the waiting place. We can get comfortable waiting. We know what it feels like. So we hang on. And by hanging on, we make ourselves stuck. It’s by letting go that we move on in the direction we are supposed to go.

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. – Lao Tzu

So we need to let go. Be unanchored. Undone. Untethered. We need to start. To start something new, to create. In the letting go, in the creating, what we need is to create, to begin our lives anew. Each day.

To speak of creativity is to speak of profound intimacy. It is also to speak of our connecting to the Divine in us and of our bringing the Divine back to the community. This is true whether we understand our creativity to be begetting and nourishing our children, making music, doing theater, gardening, teaching, running a business, painting, constructing houses, or sharing the healing arts of medicine and therapy. – Matthew Fox (the minister, author of “Original Blessing,” not the actor from “Lost”)

We get out of the waiting place by being ourselves, differently. By opening ourselves to creativity. By creating our lives. By being inspired and doing something with that inspiration. By allowing God to light a spark in us and being consumed by the spark of Divine inspiration.

2016-sept-harper-sunrise

Author: Michael Valliant

I am a father, a writer, a runner, a hiker, reader, follower of Christ, a longboard skateboarder, stand-up paddleboarder, kayaker, novice birder, sunrise chaser, daily coffee drinker, occasional beer sipper. I live in Oxford on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where I am the director of the Oxford Community Center by day. I am on a walk of faith, a spiritual adventure, following where God leads, trying to share my walk and story.

One thought on “Waiting, Seeing, Creating”

  1. i was thinking the worst waiting room of my life was the one before i entered the long hallway which took me to the life i’d make in california
    at 4:45 am i’d get up in december, january, february, and open this coffee shop. it sat facing out on the st. martin’s river, where it opens into the backside of ocean city, overlooking the assawoman bay
    most mornings i’d see the sun come up over the beach town in the distance right around the time that all the first pots of coffee were brewed
    it was the kind of cold that winter that feels like chalk in your lungs when you breathe
    i wrote a lot in the morning there, and at 3 when i got off i had a hour before i’d have to be at a popular big uptown hotel to cater these shmeshme events for people in suits and nice dresses
    everyone i worked the catering gigs with, almost, was undocumented, that was the winter i learned that sometimes you just put your head down and do it
    it would be dark by the time the banquets were set up. 4:30
    it was a winter for me with literally no light but the peaking rays of a new day. most days
    when i think back on the time, what stands out more than anything are the friendships. my closest friends here in this stinky little drunk winter town were the ones that suffered the waiting room with me that year, they made the wait bearable. i spoke with two of those three people yesterday, we are in touch most every week. they show up. waiting room friends are your people for life. like that’s how forged through to the heart of each other’s-what-matters they are, or can become anyway
    that little space of traction forces certain, unstoppable change by virtue of the stop and wait, so that when the time permits
    you have the stored energy you need to make it down the next coming hall
    the one that’s got god’s next open door at the end

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