This week I’ve been a little envious of King Louis XIV.
“I almost had to wait,” he’s famous for saying when a coach he had ordered arrived just in time.
Louis XIV ran his days timed to the minute, starting with a getting-up ceremony, in which members of his entourage appeared in his bedchamber like clockwork—one after the other in order of importance to watch as he was washed, combed, and shaved. By the time he was dressed and drinking soup for breakfast, these spectators numbered around 100.
He was unwearied, people said of him, and able to see many moves ahead. He used precision and urgency to make France the main political power in western Europe in his time. Waiting around was not his style.
Not mine either, as I’ve known before and confirmed once again. This week as we’ve wait for Steve’s biopsy results, I’ve felt sometimes felt as impatient as the middle school kids I’ve taught.
I’ve seen them wait—for the end of the year, the end of the term, the end of the week, the end of the day, and even clock checking every two minutes for the end of a period. I’ve watched them fidget and stew as they waited for the posting of a drama cast list, a weekly eligibility report, and SAT scores. I’ve seen them in daunting waits for their own custody hearings, for court rulings that could send a mother to prison, and parole hearings that could bring a father home.
Most middle school kids make the strains of waiting visible. They explode tempers, forget homework, backtalk teachers, fail classes, and thrash around in relationships. Or they pull inside— shuttering faces and falling silent.
Even though I’m sixty-six and should know better, I’ve shown some strain this week. But I’m trying to remember that life will keep bringing uncertainties, times when I’m at the brink and don’t know what will happen on the other side. I’ll get lots more practice at waiting than King Louis XIV.
And I’m coming to see that getting better at waiting will improve my life. So I’m trying to learn, to fill this wait time with meaning. And I’m grateful to so many of you who have waited with us and to the God who has been sustaining us.