The idea of the end of waiting is frightening. Doesn’t that mean death? Aren’t I always waiting for something? A package, a success, a friend’s visit, the end of my run. I await these things. Perhaps monks and nuns achieve the end of waiting. Perhaps they achieve a state of “being,” when that word implies “be here now” when wanting disappears. That’s an admirable state. Be.
I rarely “be” because I’m waiting, or precisely wanting. Wanting and waiting seem in this conversation to be the same. I’m always waiting for what I want. Having sat with my mother was she prepared to die and watching her look at her calendar and realize she would not see her foot doctor and needed to cancel the appointment hit me a pain I’ve never gotten over. That was the end of waiting—in this case for her foot doctor to help her with something. She was done waiting for that. Her foot would be as it was as she died.
And that’s why I don’t like the idea of the end of waiting. I want the Thing. I want to want the Thing. I will wait for the Thing. That’s living. While I’m impatient with waiting, I won’t trade that for the end of waiting. Desire. Desire makes me feel alive. A deer desires tender grasses and keeps moving until she finds it. A hawk desires a juicy mouse and will fly until he finds it.
A hawk waits. A field cat waits. A snake probably waits. They are waiting for dinner. And the end of waiting is only momentary when they pounce on what they’ve been waiting for. Only momentarily because they are soon waiting for dinner again. The end of the wait means they’re dead and gone.
Waiting is desire and desire pulls me forward and as much as I see its pitfalls. I participate in the wait. I wait for my want. And that’s what keeps me alive. Please, I don’t want to end the wait just yet.