You know how singers have albums with snazzy titles and some of them actually mean something–well, all of them probably mean something to the artist-the mood they were in, something related to what’s going on in their life, something that’s on their mind. Angelique Kidjo has Black Ivory Soul, Adele has an album entitled 19. Then her next album, which was released when she was 21 is aptly named, 21, Mary J. Blige has No More Drama, which is self-explanatory in some ways . I’ve often thought about what an album for my life would be–at least at different parts of my life. I think I’ve finally decided that my album cover for my life thus far would be entitled, Leave, Rush, Wait.
My childhood was, for all practical purposes, good. I had lots of experiences that grounded me and shape who I am today. Church every sunday,family dinners ‘down the country’, fishing at the crack of dawn, crafts, softball, lots of friends, travel and great school experiences with inspiring teachers. My childhood, in essence, gave me a glimpse of what was out there. It set me up to leave Richmond, VA to explore. To question. To learn.
The next part of my life can be characterized as ‘the rush’. I was in a rush to do everything. I went to college in NYC and just fell into rushing around-physically (walking, talking). I wanted to experience everything all at once. I was in a rush to do complete my school work, rush to hang out with my friends on Fridays at The Plex, rush to have a boyfriend (or several of them). I rushed through emotions and always had a full social life (sorority, academic societies, squash, babysitting, sign language class at church). All cylinders were firing. I learned a lot and soaked up everything like a sponge. After college, I was in a rush to get my master’s degree–so much so that I went to grad school while working full-time. My life was busy. I ran with my friends in Fort Tryron Park, took boxing lessons, I studied and I taught elementary students in a small teacher-run school. I became emblazoned with the passion of progressive educators and became heavily involved with educators in these circles. I volunteered for everything, had a lot of stuff and was feeling full of life. I was in a rush to get married in my late 30s and so I did. I was in a rush to get divorced less than a year later and I did. I moved, moved again, had a baby, through myself into my job and grad school again. Busy, I was busy. In a rush to prove something. I was in a rush to make a name for myself. In a rush to make money. In a rush to get a doctorate. Feeling every bit of 20s all over again, I did all of those things and then a few months ago. I just felt tired.
Now, I’m in a period of wait. I’m in the gray, cloudy place that an airplane goes through right before the blue sky peaks out in front of the nose of the plane. I’m in the place where it is easy to feel overwhelmed, underwhelmed, cranky and not confident. In this period of wait, I feel every one of the 24 hours in the day. I sometimes struggle to make one day different from the last. Up until now, I’ve been fighting the wait. It is unnatural for me-a person of leave and a person of rush to…wait. Waiting is excruciating for a person likes me who wants what she wants in the now. A person who wants to be in control. For me, waiting signifies a loss of power. Waiting for someone to pick you up. Waiting for someone to decide something for you. Waiting requires no energy–or so I thought.
I have come to realize that waiting requires a great deal of energy. Wait requires power and knowledge of the presence of power. There is a lot to learn in the period of wait. AND, there is a lot of work to do in the period of wait. Waiting, as Dr. Kinney (Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Beaver Dam) put it, is a sign of your desire, devotion and determination. I have not enacted the right attitude or behavior in this season of wait. Like the plane, I have to act as if the blue sky is there even though I can’t yet see it. I have to act as if I am confident in what I believe to be true. When my period of wait (and work) is over, I hope to have learned something about myself that I didn’t know before. I want to say, ‘wow, that was hard but I’m such a better person for the wait’. I believe this to be true.