Letters Home #17 💌
Writing from: Ottawa, Ontario
Dear Ones —
I listened to a podcast today with the incredible Martha Beck about waiting. She discussed the many ways in which we wait in life: for a big event, a baby to arrive, some news. As an author, she also talked about the publishing experience (boy, can I relate to that). Other authors will know there is a lot of waiting in the process of both creating a book and promoting it. It holds both anticipation and frustration.
I’ve heard waiting can prevent us from taking action, but this is rarely the case for me. I’m working to generate press for my book, for instance, even while I’m also waiting for the book fairies to sprinkle glitter on mine so that it will reach more people (because publishing really can be a crapshoot that way!). Sometimes I know I’m getting wrapped up in waiting for the next thing, only to reach it and realize I’m scanning the horizon for the next. This can prevent me from being present to the life right in front of me. It’s a daily struggle to move through those two spaces: the waiting and the agency to act.
A dear friend of mine was recently waiting for a prognosis on some tissues they removed from her body. I’ve been in that space in a more subtle way before and only have a taste of what that must feel like. That kind of waiting is tormenting. The only way through it, according to Beck, is to be present and aware of our thoughts (easier said than done, as she herself knows).
When my friend received her results, she sent me a text.
My heart stopped for a moment. “Benign,” her text said, and I shed some tears. We are all so relieved. But her circumstances reminded me that, from now on, it’s possible she’ll live with the knowledge that it could have been the opposite. In some regards, she might find herself in perpetual waiting mode unless she can find a way to live day-to-day not giving into fear but instead focusing on the joys in her present moment.
I have my own situations right now in which I am waiting, and I’m forced to trust that all will be well, I’m just not sure how. So, where does that leave me?
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