I remember, as a five year old, waiting excitedly for my dear grandmother to step off the bus in Saddle Brook, having made the long trip out to us from Manhattan. No doubt you have found yourself waiting on many occasions for one person or another: at a restaurant, for a friend or relative; for your spouse or partner, to get ready to go out; for a plane to take off or land; for the dentist or doctor, who will see you now; for your turn at the DMV window; for the surgeon to enter the waiting room and inform you whether the operation was successful or not... the list goes on and on. We spend countless hours waiting over the course of a lifetime.
Do you know where you go during those endless moments of waiting? Have you caught glimpse of what happens to your mind as you sit (or pace) while waiting?
Waiting is preparation for death. We virtually never think of it in such stark terms, but it's true. In the void of waiting, death lingers at the periphery of our vision, like ghosts do. Again, I don't mean to sound morbid, but simply to call attention to the omnipresence of death in our lives. Though I've said it before, it bears saying again: death and life are inseparable.
I recall a story I heard many years ago, which comes at the issue from the other end: Long ago, a man, accustomed to living a harried life, caught glimpse of death and was completely spooked. He jumped on the first horse he could find and rode fast and furious in the opposite direction of death. One horse after another collapsed under him, but he persisted in his escape. Finally, the fugitive from death made his way to an oasis in the farthest corner of the land he grew up in. There, at the fountain, was death, who glanced down at his watch and remarked: "I didn't think you were going to make it on time."
one after another