By Dr. Heather Bozant Witcher, Young Adults
Good things come to those who wait. Each Advent, I’m reminded of this cliché.
Each year, we count down the days until Christmas, until the birth of our savior. Each year we take on the role of Mary, waiting in anticipation for the birth of her son, waiting in prayerful acceptance of God’s will.
As I think about Advent and the preparations for Christmas, I’m instantly reminded of the stark contrast between the peaceful stillness of waiting and the bustle and rush of the end of the semester. The assignments that need to be graded, the student conferences that will no doubt arise once finals week draws near, the final grades that need to be entered.
In the midst of this chaos, it seems that anticipation and waiting have become forgotten concepts. There’s no time for waiting, no time for reflection. Instead, it’s the time of year when everything seems to be going at a faster pace.
This year, I want to tell my keyed-up students to take a breath. To stop. To wait. It’s the end of the semester and grades are forthcoming, but in all of the focus on the grade received, there’s no pause to recollect what has been gained, what has been learned.
If all that can be said of a course is that you received an A or a B, have you truly participated in the class? Have you transferred any of the knowledge?
When people talk about “kids these days” and the seemingly stark contrast between this generation and their own, it’s often with an aspect of frustration. But where has this generation learned its anxiety?
With all of the stressors and seemingly insurmountable obstacles, where have they learned to process and overcome the challenges that they face? Where have they learned that sometimes the greatest lesson of all is in the process of doing and not the end (or graded) result.
Perhaps, after all, it stems from the uncomfortable prospect of looking back upon the generation before.
Waiting, after all, is a learned behavior. How can we expect someone who has not been taught the virtue and truth in the old cliché to know how to wait, to have patience?
Moreover, it’s not a learned behavior that we can say we’ve mastered overnight. It takes time, it takes practice, it takes years. And, in that learning process, we realize the truth hidden in that cliché – good things come to those who wait.
Personally, it’s only recently that I’ve understood that phrase. With each negative pregnancy test in the two years of actively trying to conceive, the stress, anxiety and frustration mounted. It reached a point where it seemed almost pointless to test – what else could it say but negative?
Waiting, at the time, and trying to understand God’s plan seemed altogether difficult. And not only difficult, but irritating or annoying. Couldn’t God see that we were trying to fulfill our marriage vows – not only to love our spouse, but to be open to children?
Good things come to those who wait. Not on our time, but on his. Double the blessing, double the joy. And, in the process of waiting, I learned the fruitfulness of anticipation and developed an even deeper appreciation and love of motherhood, that which had seemingly been denied for so long.
Dr. Heather Bozant Witcher can be reached at email@example.com.