Waiting is so damn hard. I don’t care if you’re waiting in line, waiting for winter to thaw, waiting for chives like these to burst open and paint the garden purple, waiting for that check to arrive or that job to come through. We spend so much time waiting for life to get better and, despite all that practice, the waiting part never gets easier.
But today, my husband reminded me how important it is to be present for the here and now, regardless of whatever else we’re waiting for. Two months ago today, his friend and colleague, Steve, was critically injured in a motorcycle crash. I remember when Brad came home from the hospital late that night, there were no answers, no predictions, no expectations for Steve. We simply had to wait and see what would happen, praying he would pull through. It was hard enough for a friend to wait around for news of something, anything that provided a glimmer of hope; I can’t imagine how difficult the waiting was (and is) for Steve’s wife and kids.
Eventually, Steve emerged from his coma and has been making slow but sure steps toward recovery. Brad was able to go see him today for the first time since the accident. He knew to go in without high expectations, not sure that Steve would even know who he was. I worried Brad might come home from the rehabilitation center deflated, depressed to see such a drastic change in his work buddy, but it was just the opposite: Brad seemed so relaxed and relieved when he walked through our door.
Even though Steve hadn’t known who he was at first, couldn’t come up with the right words much of the time, and needed help doing almost everything, Brad felt overjoyed to have another chance to sit and chat with Steve. He said there were fleeting moments when he just knew the old Steve was in there, hiding behind a playful smirk or a sparkle in his eye. Brad excitedly recounted all the funny, interesting, even awkward exchanges they’d had today which showed me how engaged and in-the-moment he had been with Steve.
He knows, even more so now, that it’s still going to be a long road for Steve with lots of unknowns. But Brad said today is all he really cares about and the fact that he got to sit in the sunshine and shoot the breeze with a friend he’d thought he might never see again. No wonder they say patience is a virtue. It requires that we give up control, accept that which we cannot change, and delight in the present moment. Today is the only day that really matters.