Waiting is a four letter word to me, albeit with 7 letters. I just wasn’t made to wait. I am a “now, let’s do it NOW” kind of person. ( I like to think I inspired those nice folks at Nike!)
I think my aversion to waiting started when I was 4 and a 1/2, which is of course a formative age for the patience genes.
It was December, the 25th to be precise. Christmas morning and I bounded down the stairs, full of hope, excitement and sleep in my eyes, having spent the night on the window sill looking for overloaded sleighs being pulled through the sky by magical reindeer’s with silly names.
I was buzzing as much as I did when I had my first dose of morphine!
So, into the living room and into my Christmas pile! In our house, Santa always separated his goodies for us neatly into our own easily identifiable “pile” on separate chairs.This did not stop cries of “She has taken mine mum” , “Dad, Elaine stole my jumper” , but it was a nice attempt by my parents. I had just one sister at that point; Elaine, a beautiful , dainty little ballerina of a child- the complete opposite of clumsy , bulldozer Lorna , but at 5 years older she was definitely the ruler of our roost.
She rushed to where her pile lay, easily identified by the shiny new bike she had been asking for since July. Confusion hit me, where was my pile? Don’t worry dear reader, it wasn’t that I had been completely overlooked…just that I had specifically asked for a bright orange spacehopper ..that was nowhere to be seen!
My mum ushered me over to where presents lay neatly on a chair with my name on , ( the presents were named, not the chair! Warned you about the grammar!) and smiled reassuringly..Santa had been.
“No he hasn’t ” , I said, “I can’t see my spacehopper”.
My mum, full of maternal wisdom..or last night’s wine..smiled knowingly, “look he has brought you lots of other things and here, he has left you a note”.
Now, the look on my mum’s face suggested I was indeed Blessed among four and a half year olds, but let me tell you, the one thing you DON’T want to get from Santa on Christmas morning is a NOTE!!!!
She persisted with the “this is a great thing Lorna” vibe and thrust an envelope into my hands whilst pulling me onto her knee, “let’s read it together”.
Now, just like a certain deceitful campaign to stop Scotland achieving Independence, mum decided reading this woeful letter from Lapland was better done together, but my little heart knew sorrow when it felt it…Santa had forgotten me.
The tears flowed silently as I remembered that the previous week at Sunday School, Mr Love had been saying we were to be thankful for WHATEVER we got at Christmas as it was really all about the baby Jesus being born.( Isn’t Mr Love the PERFECT name for a Sunday School teacher?) So wailing and gnashing of teeth wasn’t an option..even though I was pretty sure the four and a half year old Jesus would have been gutted if Joseph had forgotten His birthday space hopper!!
I digress ; despite a doll with hair that grew when you pressed her belly button, colouring books and pens, a new nightie and dressing gown, ( we called them house coats, did anyone else?) , three selection boxes, a ball, a tin of toffees with a picture of a cute kitten on it and nice new socks, I was bereft.
The note revealed that “Santa” had been inundated with requests for the amazing bright orange space hoppers and , given that he knew what a nice girl I was, would I mind waiting till the elves had made more?
At this point I would have been less distressed if my mum had told me there was no santa, the presents came from them and the shop had run out of space hoppers and the next delivery wasn’t until the New Year.
(I now understand this is every parent’s nightmare as similar happened to me when “Santa” ran out of Tracy Islands in 1990!)
WAIT . WAIT. WAIT. WAIT…There , I did..I waited for about 2 hours patiently then I began my daily cry of “Is it here yet?”…..for what seemed like forever, I WAITED. Not patiently. Not nicely, as I wished my sister many an unfortunate incident as she cycled smugly past on her shiny Christmas bike.
WAIT. WAIT. WAIT..Daily I paced the floor behind the letterbox, as if my coveted toy would bounce through the 7 centimetre space into my loving arms. WAIT..
I can’t say I passed this time fruitfully. The pain was too much. Not only was my space hopper missing, the tin of toffees gave me toothache and I couldn’t stay within the stupid lines in my colouring in book. My life was over. I saw no lights or tunnels. Only other kids playing on their stinking spacehoppers!
Sunday school was no help – turns out the Son of God was and is perfect..so there would have been no tantrums or shrieks of Holy howling. Thanks Jesus, way to go!
After the trauma of New Year, a celebration that involved lying squashed in my nana’s bed with my big sister- both in our new nighties, while my mum n dad joined in the alleged singing and dancing in the living room, and we were supposed to sleep, ( impossible when we knew there was crisps , nuts and weird smelling lemonade) and let the grown ups misbehave. WAIT. WAIT. WAIT..STUPID WORD. STUPID MEANING…WAIT!
WAITING. And then, a few days later, while still at my nana’s , it happened!
I awoke to whoops and hollers, footsteps in the hall, muffled voices, my mum carrying something..woohoo.. I bounded out of bed, heard my nana shouting “S’here , s’here”..I was so excited I hopped skipped and jumped farther than Johnathon Edwards ever did..all the while imagining my first gallop on my treasured bright orange beast.
Into the room I ran …sure enough, there was my mum .holding my beloved…WEE BABY SISTER!!!
Turns out I had waited 10 whole days for a space hopper and my big fat mum had excitedly brought home a baby instead. GUTTED.
Yes, I did on occasion sit on Shirley and bounce while pulling her ears..but it really wasn’t the same. ( Shirley is what my new sister was called. I have called her many other things over the years!) My wise..and thinner ..mum assured me the waiting would be worth it but that my new sister was the greatest present I could get. Was she suggesting Shirley was better than a space hopper? Crazy talk!
Waiting had been futile. A little while later, about three more days I think, my ACTUAL space hopper did arrive. I LOVED it and bounced around as if it was a horse for hours and hours and years. I think I was Symington’s answer to Zara Phillips. Well, before she was born. Without Royal heritage.Without a horse. Without riding gear. Without talent. You get the drift….
The point was, although I waited impatiently for something I thought would be the best treasure EVER…Something else came along that was much better. Shirley gave me far more love and pleasure than my space hopper ever could. Well…
God does that SO often with me. I learned to Pray when I was wee..probably around this time actually, ( nothing sends me to my knees in Prayer faster than the thought I may have missed a present!) and LOVE to come before God to hear what He is saying. If I like what I hear, I may even agree with Him.
There is a verse in the Bible which says “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” Psalm 27 v 14. I find this almost impossible..and yet…
God asks us to WAIT. WAIT for Jesus to return. Wait for our Prayers to be answered…all the time He strengthens our hearts. I know if you don’t have a Faith right now, you think I am talking guff..but I know God has strengthened my heart. Although I have to wait and wait sometimes for answered Prayer..He keeps me hoping and not despairing. Don’t get me wrong, I still hate waiting. REALLY hate waiting. It is even worse now I can’t stamp my feet , this is due to my impaired health rather than any sense of age restrictions!
Yet deep down I think I have a bizarre hope that not only will God deliver His Promises to me…He might even deliver the equivalent of another new baby sister!!
So, what happened to this strong heart then? Fresh from this nice wee illustration?
Well..WAIT.WAIT.WAIT and I will tell you….
I grew up to be an impulsive, impatient, irrational, illogical wee madam at times..who wants everything NOW!
Difference is I now KNOW I need to wait and I am ok with it. Sometimes.
True, neither of my own kids will allow me to accompany them to any appointments as I don’t do WAITING rooms. Not in a tantrumy way..oh no, I progressed to giggling. I sat snittering in the silence as they stared at their shoes, aglow with embarrassment.
Or when I started the rumour Ewan McGregor was in a shop just so I didn’t need to queue for the changing rooms. ( It was like a herd of wildebeest in the Serengeti as they set off to hunt him down!)
I have waited for a very long time for some answers to Prayers. It is now twenty years since I became a single mum..God must be extremely BORED with the husband Prayers, yet in the waiting, I have a strength and assurance that I am not on my own. Perhaps I have discovered something better in the meantime. My love for God and my Trust in His Word.
Sometimes, God doesn’t let me wait. Last June I wanted to take my mum n two boys to a swanky hotel n spa to help me celebrate my birthday..( I know, those falls off my space hopper when I was wee left me soft in the head. Why was I paying?) It would cost me £250 .. I Prayed and said to God, “I would love to do it. I need £250. I am asking you as a wee birthday present”. I got up the next day and there was a blank envelope with no note or anything through my door…with £250 in it!!!
So – this wee tale is just to encourage you. Sometimes, what we long for takes time. Lots of time. But in the waiting place, don’t miss the joy of the present. ( See what I did there?) The true gift. TODAY… and everything that it contains.
Hold on for the spacehopper…but Trust that something even better can happen too…WAIT . WAIT…WAIT FOR IT!!
I really must go, I am waiting for God to take the calories out of chocolate. Tonight might be the night!!