The Waiting Room, Chapters 2 and 3

For those of you just joining us, welcome back to The Waiting Rooma series of essays solicited from the team at Heather Elder Represents that share insightful and sometimes hilarious tales about a learning experience with the agony that can come with waiting — stories of learning, adjusting and sometimes even appreciating it.

It is my hope that as we all keep navigating through the unknowns, that you will feel inspired by, and even draw strength from them.  We truly are all in this waiting room together!

Kate Chase, Creative Strategist, Guest Editor

Chapter 2

Divergent Thinking

By Jason Lindsey, Artist

Fourteen years ago, it felt like all the pieces of my life puzzle were coming together. Not only was I finally finding my voice as a photographer, but my wife and I were expecting our first child. We could not wait to become parents. 

But life had other plans for me. Bjorn was born three months premature, which would mean spending the next four months in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in a different state three hours from home. When we finally returned home, we had nurses at our house 18 hours a day for six-and-a-half years.

We found ourselves pushed way outside of our comfort zones.

We spent thousands of hours waiting for others — waiting for test results, waiting for surgery, WAITING FOR BJORN TO COME OUT OF SURGERY, waiting on Doctors, waiting for life to get back to some sort of status quo.  After 20 surgeries and hundreds of medical appointments, we also realized that while there were many things out of our control, that if we were going to find a normal where Bjorn could have as many experiences in life as possible, we were going to need to be the ones to take responsibility for making it so. We would have to find another way.

When the doctor said we could not take Bjorn on a hike because it was too dangerous, we countered each of his concerns by explaining we had created two backpacks to carry all the heavy medical gear and the medical training we did to keep him safe. 

We were determined.

We found common ground, and the doctor gave his blessing. When they said he could not swim because of his tracheotomy and that he could possibly drown, there we were with our idea to hold him above the water the entire time. They hesitantly agreed.

Ultimately while we were forced overnight into a situation we never could have imagined, it was the finding our way through it that gave us not only purpose but also the opportunity to tap into our beliefs. Thinking outside the box, and seeing problems as questions, is what made all this possible.

Oh, and Bjorn, he has been without a tracheotomy for seven years. And last year he passed his swimming test for Boy Scouts.

Chapter 3

Sitting Here in Limbo

By David Martinez, Artist

Sitting here in limbo
But I know it won’t be long
Sitting here in limbo
Like a bird without a song
Sitting here in limbo
Waiting for the dice to roll
Sitting here in limbo
Got some time to search my soul
I don’t know where life will lead me
But I know where I’ve been
I can’t say what life will show me
But I know what I’ve seen
Sitting here in limbo
Waiting for the tide to flow
Sitting here in limbo
Knowing that I have to go

These are a few verses from the song “Sitting Here in Limbo” featured in the 70’s movie The Harder They Come starring Singer, Jimmy Cliff. This song has been an anthem for me throughout my life. When I first heard it during my middle teens — time seemed to be standing still. I was so ready to begin my life; I could hardly contain myself. School wasn’t going well, my home life was a mess, and I really had no clear vision of where my life was going.

The waiting seemed so painful — I didn’t know how I would get through it. 

What saved me was my insatiable interest in photography. My father had been an amateur photographer, and an interest in photography was my way of connecting with him. It was one of the brightest spots in my life.

During this time, I got a random tip from a friend about a professional photographer who had just let his assistant go and might need some help. I reached out to him and got a cool reception — I could come and watch him work, but no promises. Determined to make a good impression, I showed up 15 minutes early the first day. I think that was all it took to win him over. The wait was over and I had begun my journey to becoming a photographer.

Our technology-based culture has very little tolerance for waiting

Today, most things are evaluated based on productivity and speed. Before this current period of waiting, I found it hard to stop and be still. The experience of waiting has changed for me since those teenage years — waiting to start my life.

Now I find that waiting can be experienced as a thing unto itself-not the place before a destination  —  but the destination itself. 

For the first time in many years, doing nothing is okay.

Having this open space has changed the way I feel and experience simple things in daily life. Taking time to contemplate feels valuable and okay — slowing the rhythm seems appropriate. I don’t have that anxious feeling about getting through my to-do list. I feel more able to live with my thoughts a little longer. Now instead of being on hold until the wait is over, the waiting is what I am doing.

See you next Saturday with Chapters 4 & 5 from Vanessa McGarry with her A Co-Pilot is Key and Lindsey Monroe’s with Carving out a Sacred Space. Come join us in the waiting room!

6 thoughts on “The Waiting Room, Chapters 2 and 3

  1. I can completely relate to your story and thanks for sharing it. Our lives haven’t gone as planned either and now so many people in the world are in waiting rooms as well. Justice was diagnosed with Leukemia at 9 months old and it’s been quite a journey ever since. Waiting room after waiting room; bone marrow transplant, then heart disease, heart surgery and now waiting for a lymphatic procedure at a hospital 3 1/2 hours from home. Determination, perseverance, humor and hope get us through these unknown times.

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