Let’s face it, I have never been good at waiting, whether it is in a queue at the local supermarket or for a doctor’s appointment. I am sorry, but my personality just doesn’t allow for it!
Through the years I have learned to plan my schedule to prevent waiting and queues to the minimum. I for instance do all my shopping on Tuesday mornings and schedule all my appointments for Mondays when the rest of the world has to work or go to school or something more important. You will not believe me, but when I have to renew a passport or drivers licence I normally try to do it in between the December holidays when everybody else is on leave. Of course I always make sure I am well prepared for the waiting game with a water bottle and a huge bag of jelly babies. . . and of course, a good book.
But there is that one wait no one can prepare themselves for, and that is God’s timing. No matter how well you plan or prepare, no matter how often you pray and beg or how many jelly babies you eat or books you read to pass the time, God will not be rushed.
Through the years I’ve often asked God to show me the way and admittedly seldom waited for his answer or guidance. According to me He just took too long to respond and that, to me, was the sign that I should just jump in and wait for the best. Believe me, it ever so often ended in disaster or caused hurt to other people, usually the people I care most about. Selfish? Maybe. But I sincerely believe that I am not the only guilty one, we grow up and live in a society where we expect life to happen immediately and success to happen overnight. We are prepared to neglect ourselves and our families to get what we want and if we do not succeed in what we believe to be our own perfect time lines we become frustrated and angry, anxious and depressed. Unfortunately we then blame God and usually look for gratification and solace in the wrong places. I go shopping . . . okay, okay I know it sounds pathetic, but at least I don’t go drinking!
Since then I have decided to make a conscious decision to learn to be patient, not to push circumstances or people and let go and let God in his own time, for his timing is always perfect. I have learned to wait and discovered that during these periods of waiting I have more time to appreciate the simple things in life like a flower in my own little garden or a cup of good coffee with a special friend.
Let me tell you about the book I have written. It took me about a year to write this novel, Tuiskoms and when I was finally done I decided to submit it to various publishers. They all tell you that you should give them four to five months to respond and would prefer it if you do not submit your manuscript to other publishers simultaneously. That means you can only submit your manuscript in five month’s time if you were not successful, and let me tell you, absolute hell for a personality like my own! But, I was positive and so confident that I decided to start writing a sequel, which I later realised, was maybe just a teensy bit naive. Needless to say I never heard from any of them and decided to consider self publishing. I quickly learned that this was an expensive route and decided one last time to submit my manuscript to a well known international publisher who only deals with the big names. I was surprised when I got an e-mail from them in less than two weeks. The person who wrote to me praised my work and said that although they cannot publish my book themselves, he suggest I keep on trying to get it published by a local publisher or maybe attend a writing course. . . After I spent a couple of weeks licking my wounds I decided to re-write the whole book and again, for the second time, present my manuscript to all the local publishers, but again got no reply. By now nearly three years had passed and I was no longer interested in trying. I finally accepted the fact that my writing was simply not good enough for publishing and stopped writing all together. My lifelong dream of getting published was shattered. I had to return to the real world and get a real job.
But then it happened, when I least expected it the e-mail came from Minimal Press. Finally, after five long years the right person read my manuscript and loved it. They have decided to publish my book and are even considering the sequel. It was all worth the wait and the timing is perfect. I now am humbled and know I will be able to handle all the critics and, hopefully some praise, with confidence and maturity.
I am now looking forward to the periods of waiting in my life, knowing that it is God’s own way of slowing me down to suite his perfect timing and I rest assured that it is to the best for myself and the people around me. I am now also more mindful about other people when I am in a waiting room or in a queue and love to share my jelly babies and my story with them. . .
Steenkamp Boëttger lives happily in Pretoria with his best friend and life companion of 25 years. Together they enjoy the outdoors, travel locally and overseas and walking their dog. His life philosophy: Respect to be respected.