Watching and waiting

nancy waitingI started writing this post for I started while I was watching some people receive watches, people who have been following God professionally for 50 years.

I don’t mean that sarcastically. It’s just that they have been pastor couples or teacher couples or missionary couples for five decades.

I was ready to write about one of the guys, a teacher. And I was going to write about my dad. I was going to talk about their diligence, their commitment to excellence, their work that makes me want to throw my hands up and stop even trying.

And then the session ended. I wandered around the room. I found myself over by the teacher, behind him, behind some people talking with him. I waited. Several people talked with him. And then I thought, “I don’t need to wait” and so I turned around. And saw his wife, three rows back, sitting alone.

I greeted her.

She said, “I thought they were behind me and I turned and they weren’t, so I sat down to wait.”

I said, “It’s not the first time, is it.”

She smiled.

We chatted a bit, this other half of  a fifty year professional ministry team. He knows the Bible in three languages. She knows him. And four children. I don’t remember how many grandchildren. And she knows countless hours waiting in public spaces while someone thanks him or asks him or questions him.

My mother knows the feeling well. So does my wife. They both have waited patiently, encouragingly. They both have given their husbands wisdom and blessing and space.

I understood much better as I walked out of the room, out into the evening, back to an empty hotel room.

There is a price paid, usually willingly, by the one not in the spotlight.And I should write about their diligence, their commitment to excellence, their work that keeps me from ever thinking about throwing up my hands and stopping trying.

I’m glad I decided to turn around.


10 responses to “Watching and waiting

  1. beautiful. my mother (a pastors wife) is a remarkable women that so few notice because she doesn’t speak at the front.

    i see a challenge here to support and thank those that support and lift up. as much as a speaker touches our heart without the person behind them we’d never be touched.

  2. Sally Lepley

    Something about your post today moved my heart. Kind of a feeling of “gee, someone does notice”. I know I’m appreciated but sometimes a reminder like yours makes me a little extra proud and happy to do what I do. And I know I have great company here in the background. Thanks, Jon.

  3. @melissasalomon indeed, beautifully said. I needed to read something like this today.

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  5. Thank you Melissa and Alex.

  6. Phil – we’d never be touched and their words are either validated or not.

    Sally – you are noticed.

  7. i wonder though
    what i give up

    there are many wonderful things that come from being in the balance
    but i wonder
    where would i fly if it was my freedom to do so

    waiting and supporting are love
    i know that
    so many factors go into the equation

    many folks say
    “You are so supportive. thanks for letting us have so much of chris”
    raising children is not a sacrifice
    doing it solo is not the sacrifice
    waiting is not the sacrifice
    it’s putting my passion away

    i barely have time to breathe
    there is none available to pursue
    i accept that
    it’s the accepting that is the difficult piece
    the one i work with daily
    in little ways
    sometimes in big

  8. sometimes we spend. sometimes we invest. sometimes what we give up we find in the end. sometimes we don’t. I know what I ask for you.

  9. The one who waits for you is a blessing, and not just to you.