I have spent a lot of my time waiting: waiting for the bus to take me to summer camp when I was a child, waiting for train to take me to work on a bitterly cold raw morning in Ontario, waiting in the LaGuardia airport during a thunderstorm to see whether I was going to get home for the weekend or be stranded with twenty dollars in my pocket, waiting alone in a hallway to see what the surgeon would say while my former husband had an emergency appendectomy, waiting by the phone to hear that my mother had passed away at a hospice.
At those times I always found myself invariably praying for something: praying that the bus would come, or the rain would stop, or that someone would be ok, or that something would end. And at those moments, it never occurred to me wonder whether or not my prayer would be heard or answered – it helped just to focus on the outcome that I most desired, and to help myself believe that everything could and would be ok.
And at those times I also heard the “what ifs” running through my mind: what “if” the train doesn’t come, what “if” the flight is cancelled, what “if” the surgery is not successful … how will life go on?
To me faith is about believing that you are never confronted with more than you can handle. You are never asked to climb a mountain that cannot be climbed. You are never stranded without any way to get home. But you are challenged to rise above the weaker parts of your nature; you have to remain calm and search yourself for answers instead of indulging anger and despair.
No, you cannot control whether or not the train will be delayed – but you can find the waiting room or a local bus.
No, you cannot control whether you will lose your job if there are layoffs at work – but you can accept that you are being given an opportunity to try something new and be grateful for any new job that you are able to find.
No, you cannot control how a seriously ill person will fair during surgery – but you can pray that they do not suffer and you can encourage them to have the will to fight to live during their recovery.
No matter how bad the situation is, the one thing that is in your control is the decision to believe that there IS a solution, and that you need to be clear headed and open minded so that when it appears, you will be able to recognize it for what it is, and grab onto it.
In short – you can decide to care about the solution more than the problem. For when you only focus on finding the solution, you will quickly discover that you are too busy to worry much about the problem itself.