When I was a child, I liked a song by a group called Edward Bear. It was called Last Song and, coincidentally, was one of the last songs the group recorded together. You can listen to the rather pretty ditty here. Summary? A boy waits two years for a girl and finally decides that, despite his abiding love, he’s done waiting. He will make one last effort, his last song, and he will stop waiting for her.
While I enjoyed this song, my mother despised it. Every time it played on Oldies 1050 CHUM, the only radio station welcome in our apartment, my mother would make the same essential comment:
“If he really loved her, he wouldn’t give up.”
My mother loved movies from the 40s and 50s. The sort where love won out and the patient and good woman was always rewarded. If I am being honest, I loved those movies too.
In these movies was hidden one of the defining lessons of my childhood. When people hurt you – when they break you and leave you or force you to leave – it is up to you love them still and to wait.
Earlier this week, I was sitting in front of my SAD lamp, sipping some very good coffee and thinking about a conversation I’d had with someone I’d just met.
Through a series of mental dance moves, my brain cha-cha-cha-ed to thoughts of a friend that I lost touch with last year. We had been very close, but there were things about me he could not accept and, I’m sure, challenges I brought to the relationship. In the end, he stopped talking to me and that, as they say, was that.
Except it wasn’t because, unlike in the song, I am still waiting. Not just for him, but for other people too.
I am waiting on my family. I am waiting on my parents. I am waiting for I’m sorry and I love you and I see the value in you.
My waiting is not passive. My waiting involves constant self examination. What is it about me that has been rejected? Can I fix it? Am I good enough yet? Do I deserve to be invited back in? My waiting is draining. It is depressing. It uses me up.
Never, until this week, did I ask the question, why am I waiting?
I am nearing 40 and have never entertained the notion that I may not want them.
(but that is not even to be said, intones the whispers in my head. what right have you to think that you are anything but a rejected and flawed human? how presumptuous to assume that the person missing out is not you…)
What does a body do when it is not waiting? What does a person do when they are not supplicated in preparation to more than forgive, but to celebrate their return home? I loved the story of the prodigal son growing up. I loved the idea that patience was a virtue and it would be rewarded. With hugs.
I feel almost silly that I’ve traveled so far into my life and never once asked myself why I am waiting.
So, as of now, I am done waiting. I am writing it down because I know this is important. I know it is something I cannot forget or let pass without imprinting it solidly on my brain. If I put it here, then hopefully I will not go back to waiting.
Waiting is not moving and I’m tired of standing still.