Waiting is hard.
It’s probably my least favorite thing to do–next to getting blood tests. I hate blood tests.
On Fridays I usually run a 400-word inspirational marriage moment, but in looking back over past Christmas columns that I’ve written I found this one on waiting. I liked it, and it was published seven years ago, so most of you haven’t seen it. So I hope you’ll forgive me 200 extra words today, but I thought I’d run it to get us ready for Christmas next week.
The Season for Waiting
I once read that most people spend on average two years of their lives waiting—waiting in lines, waiting for the waitress to bring the food, waiting for the furnace repairman. We may live in a fast-paced world, but there are some things we just can’t hurry. And waiting is aggravating, especially if you, like me, always pick the slowest line at the grocery store.
The Christmas season is all about waiting. We wait for that one special day when those much anticipated presents will finally be unwrapped, the extended family will arrive, and delicious aromas will fill the air. And waiting is torture, especially for younger ones. I’ve always felt it’s awfully unfair for children that we put our Christmas trees up in November. These poor tots with very little concept of time now have to wait over a month for Christmas, after being reminded of it daily.
When my husband was about nine, he was so tired of waiting that he took his two younger brothers and enticed them to open all the Christmas presents hidden in their parents’ closet. After examining their loot, they then rewrapped the lot, assuming their mother wouldn’t notice their haphazard job. They were wrong.
Waiting has always been an integral part of Christmas. From Mary waiting for her baby to be born to children waiting for dawn on that glorious morning, we wait. We dream of tomorrow and live for tomorrow, but in the process I wonder if we miss much of today.
When it’s presents we’re waiting for, waiting is full of excitement. But often the waiting periods in our lives are more characterized by dread than joy. I have several friends currently far back on a waiting list for specialist appointments, just so they can figure out what’s wrong. In the meantime, all these horrible diagnoses are dancing through their heads, where I’m sure they’d prefer sugar plums to be. And living in the agony of not knowing is the worst part of waiting.
If we could all do what my husband did and rip open the wrapping paper early perhaps we could take it. But when you’re waiting and there’s absolutely nothing you can do, life is painful. I have other dear friends whose daughter was just diagnosed with a serious disease. They’re spending their Christmas in and out of the hospital, and they won’t know a final prognosis for years. Even though things will likely turn out fine, that’s a lot of waiting.
I spent months waiting when I was pregnant with my second child, and the doctors told us that he had a heart defect which was likely to prove fatal. They just couldn’t tell me how long he would have. The rest of my pregnancy was spent preparing myself to meet the son I would one day bury.
What I learned through that difficult process, though, is that there’s no point in trying to prepare for every possible contingency, because only one thing is going to happen anyway. How much better it is just to savour the moment, and love the time that has been given to you.
None of us actually knows what tomorrow will bring, and when we try to live for all the things that might happen, we miss out on what is happening right now.
If we spend our lives worrying, how can we enjoy what we actually have?
There’s really no point in spending our lives waiting. We can’t do anything about the future anyway. But we can love today. We can forgive today. We can hug today, and laugh today, and even cry today. We can choose not to sweat the little things. We can choose to let little grudges go. Treasure up those you love; cherish their smiles, and their voices, and their hugs. Don’t wait to mend fences; do it now, when Christmas is upon us, and people are misty-eyed over family and peace and love and joy.
There is no better time. So why wait?
What’s #1 at To Love, Honor and Vacuum?
Okay, I just have to comment on this for a moment. I wrote two really big posts this week–on Tuesday and Wednesday, about Christmas traditions. And I thought they were pretty good–and they did get good traffic. But when I was looking through which posts did best, the one with the most traffic was Monday, where I shared my personal story and some pics of my cruise with my hubby. I’m actually kind of touched–that means that you guys like finding out about personal stuff about me, and not just marriage advice. That’s sweet! It’s like we’re friends, which is what I really want anyway. 🙂 So thank you!
#1 NEW Post on the Blog: I Spent a Week with My Hubby!
#1 on the Blog Overall: Stocking Stuffers For Your Husband
#1 from Facebook: Christmas Traditions as a Couple
#1 from Pinterest: Why I Didn’t Rebel (my daughter explains!)
When I’m Insensitive
Now that we’re all friends and all, I have to apologize for being insensitive. On Wednesday I put up my post on Christmas traditions as a couple, and I framed it as how to do Christmas well BEFORE you have kids–because that was the reader question that was sent to me.
But I realize that many people don’t have kids and won’t have kids, and I didn’t mean to imply that those couples were somehow “lesser” than other couples. I amended the opening of the post to take that into consideration.
I’ve written a ton on the blog about miscarriages and infertility and baby death (since my own son died), so I don’t know why I did that. Just clueless, I guess. Forgive me.
My Readers Are So Creative!
I met one of my longtime readers, Kim O, when I was speaking in North Carolina giving my Girl Talk recently. She’s been following me for SIX years! Wow.
Anyway, she gifted me with some absolutely lovely and heavenly homemade soaps and lip balms that she creates.
There’s this luscious oatmeal and honey soap I’ve been using, and some lovely Christmas soaps. And several lip balms that I included in my “Exam Survival Kits” I sent my daughters this week at school!
So thank you, Kim!
Christmas is a Great Time to Give the Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex!
But at Christmas you can get away with anything!
Last year one of my friends bought her three daughters-in-law each a copy for Christmas. They made some pretty funny family photos with them afterwards!
So if you have a sister, a daughter, a daughter-in-law, a cousin, whatever…if they need it, now’s the time to buy it! And it’s not too late, if you order it now, to still get it delivered by Christmas.
A lot of people still struggle with enjoying sex and seeing sex as a good thing. If you’re afraid that someone you love is missing out–give them a gift that will reap huge dividends for years to come (and maybe even for generations).
A Reader Sent Me This Awesome Note…
We’ve been married [over 2 decades], and we’ve always had an active, happy sex life. I’m convinced this is a big reason why we are still in love and strongly attached to each other, when people all around us are getting divorced–or worse. Our sex life is a healing bond like no other, and it’s a huge blessing to us.
That said, some time last year, we weren’t exactly in a rut, but…here’s the thing. I get up at 5 am every weekday. Despite our very busy life, we do our best to have the lights out at 10pm.
Now, my husband and I have always had kind of a role reversal thing. I climax easily and don’t need a ton of help , but my husband loves drawing things out. I don’t mind that at all, in theory. But on weekdays, when I was focused on sleep, our intimate time was…efficient, shall we say?
And at some point late last year, my husband brought this up very gently. He said he felt ridiculous about complaining, since he knows how good he’s got it, but he wanted there to be some times that he didn’t feel so rushed. I prayed over this for a day or so and then truly felt that I got inspiration from on high.
We already have a super consistent Date Night on Fridays, but I decided that after the more public part of our date, I’d arrange something special. Candles, flowers, and a super clean bedroom and bathroom would be the minimum.
I needed ideas about what to do next, but I wanted them to be appropriate, not sleazy. When I googled “hot Christian married sex,” your book came up. I ordered it right away and read it in one sitting when it arrived. It was perfect, and gave me everything I needed to plan our special nights. I’ve also subscribed to your blog posts, which are always full of great information and inspiration.
So, when we get home from the movies or dinner, or whatever, we might take a bath, or give each other back or foot rubs, or read the Song of Songs to each other—I tried to have some interesting surprises in store. But the main rule has been that things could go on for as long as he wanted, with no pressure to finish up. Most Saturdays, we can sleep in, so I don’t feel that pressure that I do on weekdays.
And this year has been AMAZING. I can’t remember when I came up with the code phrase “Friday Night Lights,” but sometimes, one of us will just text “FNL” to the other around Thursday or so, and it gives us both a little thrill of anticipation. While I don’t come up with something new every time, we’ve found a lot of favorites that haven’t gotten old yet. Our sex life has gone from great to magnificent, and we’ve found a level of profound contentment that we didn’t even know was possible. I’m grateful to God for such a good man, and for you and all your help, Sheila. Thanks for the great work you do in your special ministry.
Thank you so much for that awesome encouragement! That means the world to me, too.
And on Instagram…
Can’t see it? I’ve got the same post here on Facebook. It’s pretty funny. And true.
Have a wonderful weekend as you get ready for the Christmas holidays!