Fireworks are exploding over my North Texas town right now. This is one of my favorite holidays, but I skipped it this year. Oh, I had to work some, but the real work I did was on my heart.
I let it heal.
Sometimes it takes a long moment.
My long moment lasted 8 years. I’m finally ready to tell my story tonight…mostly because if I get it out, it’ll bring me closure.
July 2nd, 2011 was going to be one of the best days of my life.
I had been dating someone for a while and he was flying here from Ohio, where he lives, to spend the July 4th weekend with me and meet my family.
My kids were 3, 10, and 14. Stephi was especially excited to meet him – they talked on the phone when he would call me and he was all she could talk about.
Long distance relationships are difficult, at best. But every single weekday morning at 7:15am I would hear my phone ring and it would be him. He could not wait to say good morning and that he loves me. Then he’d text throughout the day just because he was thinking about me – until he texted to say goodnight – always at 9:30pm.
I’d driven up to meet him 2 months prior and the weekend was amazing. It ended oddly, but I was in love. Finally.
At this point I’d been a single mom for 8 years. I was in graduate school. I was teaching a summer technical writing course at the local university that summer, but school was out for this long holiday weekend and I was beyond excited.
His plane was to arrive late in the morning. I waited and waited for his call – well past the usual 7:15 timeslot. He finally called from the airport, said his flight was cancelled but he had been placed on another flight. He’d call with which airline/gate so I could know where to pick him up. So I waited. 2pm. 4pm. Nothing. I called the airline. I called the hospitals. I watched the news. Nothing.
His phone ringer was off. I left a third text message.
I had a massive panic attack. I just remember that my mom sat beside me the entire day. It’s one of my favorite moments with her, actually. I just remember her being close to me that day. Sometimes, even as an adult, you just need your mom.
How could I explain this to the kids? What would I say? Where was he? What was happening?
I finally slept. It was that sleep you have in the middle of an exhausting crying spell where you wake up, wonder where you are, remember, and start again where you left off.
The next day was a blur. No word. No arrival. Nothing.
The day after that was July 4th. I found myself pushing my kiddo in his stroller at the town parade. The parade is my favorite. I’d described it in detail to my boyfriend and he laughed at the Texas small town of it all. It was 9am. My phone rang just as the parade started coming down the street. It was him.
I shouted over the band. “Are you okay? Where are you?”
He said he’d had a medical emergency at the airport and he was at the hospital. He said which one. I knew he wasn’t. I’d already called them.
Short ending to a longer story: he was married.
I’d been waiting. Panicking. Crying over someone who I thought I might spend forever with, but things just were not what they seemed.
This blog is called “What Are You Waiting For?”
I told my story to say this: sometimes you’re waiting on the wrong thing.
Then again…sometimes you’re waiting on the right thing. Recently I waited almost 6 months to find a good job. My waiting and persistence paid off. I now have a great job.
Sometimes you need to wait.
Sometimes you just need to move forward.
I have friends right now who are waiting on healing – for themselves or others. Some who are waiting for spouses to come back. Some waiting on divorce proceedings to proceed. Some for a child to come home. I know two people this past week who have said they are just waiting around to die, and they hope it comes sooner than later.
I’m suggesting we stop waiting and start living in the pauses between the good things.
Hope. Anticipate. Dream. Dream BIG. Plan. Expect greatness.
But in the meantime – stop pausing your life (waiting) and start living.
Go watch the parade – even if you’re in tears.
Do what you need to do.
Today I didn’t want to do the normal July 4th stuff. I needed to spend time here with the kids. I needed it not to be a holiday. I needed it to be a healing day.
I got it.
Life is but a blip. Be present with the ones you love in every single moment.
What are you waiting for?