Waiting. Just the mention of the word conjures up feelings of frustration.

Picture this: It’s Saturday and the kids have tired you out with a soccer game in the morning and in the afternoon shopping for supplies for a school project. But it’s evening now and they are off at a friend’s for the night and it’s just you and your wife. You pull the car up to your favorite restaurant and step out of the car. You stretch, for it has been a long day, and take a deep whiff of the wonderful smells emanating from the restaurant. You can almost taste the dash of spices on your steak and the garlic sauce sprinkled over your rice. You hold open the door for your wife and then follow her in, determined that money will be no object tonight. That’s when you hear the dreaded words. “I’m sorry, sir. You are going to have to wait…” All you really heard was ‘wait.’ You look around the restaurant to make sure she is telling truth and then ask her to repeat how long. “Fifty minutes, sir.” If you are like me, you are already looking for tables that are almost finished, as if to contradict her and point out a table you could occupy. You even ponder running over and helping the busboy.

Yes, if you are like me, you hate waiting. I hate waiting at my favorite restaurant. I hate waiting at McDonald’s for that matter. I hate waiting at stop lights, especially when there are no other cars (shouldn’t they have motion detectors in those things!). I hate waiting for people too, whether it’s waiting for them in line at the grocery store or in line at the doctor’s office.

I hate waiting for the bathroom right after the movie ends at the theater. I hate waiting at my exit in the city for the two lanes to merge, those coming onto the highway and those trying to get off. I hate waiting for other people when they are shopping and I am not (just grab the item and go! But no, it seems like women have to touch every dress in the store and run it through their fingers before they can decide what to buy and what looks good on them. Men, well, we just tell our sons to go grab that pair of jeans right there and if it doesn’t fit, we wear them till they do.)

I am an impatient person. I know it. But aren’t we an impatient culture too? In recent decades, haven’t we begun to train ourselves not to wait? How many of us have gotten frustrated in line at McDonald’s, as if one minute was a long time to wait. How many of us have sat on the tarmac and wondered if we were ever going to take off for Chicago, when it would have taken months to get there a hundred years ago. Or how about our impatience to talk to that person right now, as we pull out our cell phone in the bank.

Here’s a good example. Our young college basketball players with any talent rarely stay four years at school. They bolt for the NBA as soon they know they can get a decent offer of money.

One of my favorite teams, the Syracuse Orangemen, lost forward Donte Greene after only one year in college. He was a good player, but he wasn’t great. He could have used three more years in college to polish his game, to develop the mental acuity that makes a talented player great, to learn about life and people, and to learn about himself. Instead, he couldn’t wait for that signed check that was going to temporarily change his life. A lot of players make the same choice (and I might too if I was in their shoes).

I know a lot of people that hate waiting for a good relationship to come along. They jump at the first man or woman that winks at them, even if they know it is the wrong one, just because it is one. I know of lot of people that hate waiting for sex in a relationship too. They want just a little bit of that pleasure now. Even if it ruins something better down the road. Even if they don’t know how the relationship is going to turn out.

Waiting can be frustrating, without a doubt. But isn’t there a saying “good things come to those who wait?” We wait for fruit to grow ripe on the vine before we pick it, because that is when it tastes best. How many of us have had unripe bananas! Or apples! Waiting for dinner, rather than snacking on sweets makes dinner taste a lot better. Waiting for a good man or woman to come along can save us unnecessary heartache, children, and baggage that can ruin a good relationship later on. Waiting for a good job with security to come along before buying a house can save us stress.

It’s hard to wait. I have proven that I am not a good waiter, but a lot of good things I want in my life seem to be the very things that I must wait on. They had better be worth it!

© Seth Crossman