I am not a very patient person. We’re half way through March and it’s snowing today. Part of me is eager for one last sleigh ride, but underneath, I’m waiting for spring. Sound familiar? For those on the west coast, you may be waiting for rain. And for those in the Midwest or South, you probably share one or the other of these desires. There are many more things than seasons to wait for. What does the act of waiting conjure up in you?

Waiting for a seed to pop its green shoot up through the earth sprouts my excitement. Waiting for someone to join me for coffee can spark my worry that they might have forgotten. Waiting for a relationship to heal is for me, the hardest of all. It requires patience.

As Joseph Campbell says: “We must let go of the life we have planned so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”

What is the difference between waiting and hoping? When I wait for something to change—be it a seed, the time of day, or a healing to take place—I am open to the moment. Waiting is a form of presence, allowing the change to happen in its own time.







Hope summons an image. It is a form of overlaying the present with a picture of the future. We can hope that spring arrives soon, or that our friend is just parking the car and will walk into the coffee shop momentarily. We can hope that a relationship will find a place of healing before some future event occurs that we had planned to be at together.

The difference is what we do with hope. If hope brings a smile to our face, or passes us by like sun through a cloud, it is a good thing. If it stimulates us into useful action, we might even remedy a situation. But if hope causes us to feel anxious, or propels us to move too quickly, it is better to wait. Somewhere between the two is balance.

When I think of waiting vs. hope, I am reminded of the chapter from my memoir, called, Planting Fava Beans: “I marvel at the potential for everything to grow, even when planted upside down. A seed doesn’t need to know it is a Fava bean. It just does a quiet somersault and keeps on growing.”

What does the act of waiting awaken in you?

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6 Responses to Waiting

  1. Waiting and hope feed each other… and nourish art and soul. Patience is another matter. In this era of immediate gratification it’s difficult to nurture our patience.

    Regarding your Fava bean, I just posted a poem on my blog on a similar theme of the cold ground and what awaits below (impatiently).

    • eileenrockefeller says:

      I just read it and loved it. I hope lots of people read it!
      Here’s to spring– soon!!

  2. Hi Eileen, beautiful photo of the rose hip shrub and flower… I suggest you look up the recipes from “Joy of Cooking” and “Martha Stewart” both online for rose hip teas. One has to pick the rose hips by hand, a small tidy task with gardening gloves on. Breathing the sea salt air at the same time, stopping to stretch and remember a sweet verse are energizing. There must be a fairy tale, somewhere in the books of a kingdom with the largest most flowering rose hips…

    Now, to comment on your word “hope”. Recently, I watched the movie “Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story”. It is a remarkable story. The movie is well done and if you have ever visited Yale University on a sunny day you will be brought back for a moment.

    Hurrah for spring. I am wishing for a warm climate all year round… This afternoon I am baking a dessert for dinner!

  3. eileenrockefeller says:

    You’re my kind of gal…dessert for DINNER! What will it be? And I’m always looking for good movies so I’ll add this to my list. Thank you!

  4. Phyll says:

    Last week I missed responding to this particular blog as I was in New Hampshire at a pony and carriage clinic at Boo Martin’s, Touchstone Farm. Wonderful week! Learned so much about harnesses, carriages, history of driving and much more. Even got to drive 3 different ponies. Did the cones and circles in a large indoor arena. So much fun!

    Then, it was on to Vermont to visit friends near Woodstock. Went to a square dance at the town hall, dinner at the Skunk Hollow Tavern followed by a night of trivial pursuits there, visited Rick Fallon’s carriage barn, gave George the butcher (in Woodstock) a hug when I stopped in to get one of his sister’s delicious “Whoopie Pie’s” (best ever!) and tooled all around, taking pictures, making new friends (furry and human) and totally loving my time there—even though it was muddy, snowy and very cold! When your heart is in the right place, everything feels joyous.

    So, in answer to your question, “what does the act of waiting awaken in you?” I would say, to every season, turn, turn, turn, there is a season, turn turn turn. . . a song written by Pete Seeger in the late 1950s. The lyrics, except for the title which is repeated throughout the song, and the final verse of the song, are adapted word-for-word from Chapter 3 of the Book of Ecclesiastes, set to music and recorded in 1962.

    To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
    A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap that which is planted;
    A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
    A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
    A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
    A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
    A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
    A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
    A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

    Have a listen (byThe Byrds):


  5. Phyll I’m SO happy to hear about your carriage clinic. I only wish could have joined you! It sounded like a ton of fun. If you do it again let me know! And thanks for the Byrds recording. Such a great song and I love the pictures. Happy driving, now that spring is coming!

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