Take a Number Sister


3307712358_6b372b503a_bI’m living in a season of waiting. I’m waiting for the snow to melt and the sun to warm the atmosphere so I can go outside and run and play and take deep, cleansing breaths of fresh air. I’m waiting to roll my shoulders away from my ears without shivering. There is no rushing the coming of spring. It’s out of my control. It could be months. Really. It could. I know we’ve seen 40s, but let’s be honest. We all know it can snow in May.

I’m waiting to see if maybe, just maybe, this is the month I get pregnant. If it is, then I’ll wait some more to see if this is the pregnancy that I’ll carry a baby in my body long enough for it to safely survive on the outside. There is no rushing the coming of life. It’s out of my control.

I’m waiting to see if professionals on the inside of “the business” think that the story I’ve been writing for the last few years is viable for publication. I’ve pitched: please represent me. Please, believe in me and my work. Tell me you think it’s good enough to make you money. There is no rushing these people, sifting through the saturated market looking for chunks of gold. They will respond when they want to, or not at all. I keep writing.

I’m not great at waiting. I’m a mover. I’ve always been. I don’t sit still gracefully.

“This traffic is never going to move! I will be found starved to death in my Prius on 94W.”

“I am never going to beat this cold! There will be snot falling freely from my nose until the day I die of dehydration!”

ania_krasniewska_MG_2773How quickly do I fall into a pitiful pile of disempowered despair. I’m trying to approach my waiting self with curiosity instead of judgement. I’ve learned that while I wait I tend to give up hope. I get irrational in my impatience.

Spring is never going to come.

I’m never going to be a mother.

This book will never be published.

I tell myself it’s easier to expect the worst. It’s my go-to strategy to protect myself from disappointment. But expecting the worst makes waiting no fun at all. And if I’m honest with myself, even though hope leaves me vulnerable, it feels more authentic to claim about what I want. Waiting hopefully makes sitting still more fun.

8468502736_c76738d458_oI’m trying to enjoy it– the waiting– and I’m trying to see all the other things in my life that are right here and ready for the reaping. I’m working on finding movement and life in my waiting. What other choice do I have? “Die,” I whisper during each yoga session, gently inviting my ego to step off while I press my forehead to the mat in child’s pose. Die to the illusion of control. Die to the clinging of movement-motivated self-worth. Die to the absurd idea that no sun and no baby and no book means I’m nothing. I picture those parts of myself in hibernation, incubation, waiting to be born. I trust that something will be born. I try to enjoy this period of not knowing exactly what. I sit playfully in the unknown. Waiting. Hopeful.

  • Becky Dean

    Hi Ellie, this really has nothing to do with your post. I just read your book How Coffee Saved My Life, and wanted to tell you how much I loved it. I didn’t just love it actually. I could relate to it. I felt like you were telling my story. I wanted to email you, but couldn’t find your contact info here. Anyway, I did a similar program to yours, but through the United Methodist Church. I spent 1.5 years in a small rural community in Ecuador, working with the local church and school. I hung out with kids every day. Some days we had water, some days not. There was not even a bank or post office in my town. My time there was so amazing, and I learned so much about myself, but it was also so hard. Almost every chapter of your book, I cried. It was so like my experience, and it’s nice to know that someone has been through what I have been through. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story. It has impacted me greatly, and I know it has blessed others who have read it. I also LOVED the connection with Spanish words and your style of writing. Blessings. Sincerely, a fellow South American missionary/volunteer.