Day 15 ~ 177 Days of Unexpected Health Project

The Waiting Gain

I would not classify myself as a patient woman. If my family and friends spouted out “Jaime qualities,” patience would probably not be on the top of their list. I do not like to wait for people, for surprises, or for traffic lights.  I am annoyingly punctual because I don’t want people to wait for me (but only because I dislike waiting for others). Yes, I am the one who lets out the loooong sigh when I find out my plans are not going according to schedule.

But I discovered the Unexpected Health in lateness. I preface my unexpected health explanation with this disclaimer: I am not advocating lateness. There are many unhealthy consequences of being late: stress hormones kick in, blood pressure raises, almost comical irritability (although you don’t dare laugh in the event you get your ‘head bit off’), irrational driving…you get the picture. But, health is abundant in waiting.

Waiting forces you to creatively pass the time and this practice is healthy. I arrived five minutes early to my presentation tonight (of course I did, because I’m Punctual Penelope!). I had to stand outside and wait for the previous meeting to end so I could go in and set up. As I stood outside the meeting room (which happened to be one of the many rooms at the church I was presenting at), I started looking around. What could I go look at to pass the time? My cell phone was turned off so I couldn’t check my email, text someone, or anything else that made me appear important and technologically savvy.  I waited…and I waited…the meeting was running late, so there I stood, waiting, and sighing I’m sure. But the longer I stood…in the dark…I began to listen and eventually, I heard the music. As I pinpointed where the music was coming from, I looked over and saw the church. Let me clarify: in the darkness of the rainy night, I saw a whole wall of stained glass windows, lit up by whomever was practicing the piano. That’s ALL I could see. Red, yellow, green, blue, orange and purple rectangular slits of light radiating against the black that surrounded me. As I was scurrying in, making sure I was quite punctual, I completely missed the light show. And had the meeting been finished on time, I would have missed it again. But for once, I was thankful for lateness. Someone else’s lateness gave me a gift of light.

We are a society of busy bees. We schedule our time to the minute. We schedule time to make our schedules. But life–and health–doesn’t always happen according to plan. Sometimes, some of the most amazing, most profound events and experiences happen during the in-between times; those times before or after the “big” events we think are going to change our lives. So, the next time you are caught in the waiting game, remember the health and the aha’s that unfold during the down times. -Until tomorrow, Jaime

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