“Thousands […] speed, /
[…] o’er land and ocean without rest;
They also [live] who only stand and wait.”
-- John Milton, “On His Blindness”
As the years have passed, I have become far more interested in standing and waiting than in speeding and dashing and rushing hither and yon. All my speeding around over the first many years of my life yielded little more than partially busted plans, headaches from hell, and a slowly disappearing sense of success. I lived in a relentless and insistent way, working ferociously against any and all obstacles to pursue my private goals, giving little heed to the need for some silence and peace every so often. I was a rusher and dasher of the first order, flinging myself along the roads of my life “without rest”, as Milton puts it. In my late 40’s, however, something happened that slowed me down and spoke to me about the importance of sometimes simply waiting and watching. I grew weary and bored with the high-speed pace of my life, and, instead of always racing around, I began to occasionally allow the wide world to work on me in its gracious ways. “Allow” is the special word there, for my life did, in fact, begin to be more about allowing -- or letting -- than doing and getting. I began to take pleasure in simply standing and observing the surprises that happened around me -- and now, more and more, all things seem to me to be surprises. Waiting has become a sort of way of life for me – just waiting to see what wonders will happen next. I guess, now, I’m rather finished with speeding around. It brought me no blessings that I know of, and standing and waiting, at least now and then, has become a worthwhile way to live.
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