What are you waiting for?

This is a story about a brother and sister named Joe and Andi.

Joe and Andi lived together in a house on a small farm with their mother and father. Joe, who was four years older, was the big brother; Andi, who was four years younger, was the little sister. Joe, the older brother, could run faster, he could read bigger books, and he could throw a ball farther. In general, he did everything better than Andi.

When Joe would ride his big-kid bike, Andi would ride her bike with training wheels. She would ask, “Can I ride your bike?” Joe would roll his eyes and say, “No. You’re not ready. You need to wait.”

When Joe would play baseball in yard, he would throw the ball up in the air, crack it with the bat, and it would soar across the yard. Andi would ask, “Can I try to bat the ball?” Joe would sigh and say, “No. You’re not ready. You need to wait.”

They would go fishing together. Andi with her cane pole and Joe with his rod and reel. Andi would swing her line out into the water near the edge of the pond. She would watch as Joe drew his pole back and zinged his line through the air where it would land with a “plunk” in the middle of the pond. Then he would crank the reel and it would make a delightful clicking noise. There was no zinging and clicking with a cane pole. Andi would ask, “Can I try to use your pole?” Joe would laugh and say, “No way…you’re not ready. You need to wait.”

One year for Christmas, Joe got a Spirograph, the coolest gift ever. Andi would watch him carefully put the paper down, stick the little pins in the ring to secure it on the paper, and then take a small gear out and place it inside the ring. He would place a pen in one of the holes, and then run it all along the inside of the ring until it made interesting and colorful designs in green, red, blue, and black. Andi was so jealous. She said, “Can I try it?” Joe looked straight at her and said, “No. It’s complicated, and you’re not ready. You need to wait.”

Andi was sure that was not true. One day, when Joe was not at home, Andi snuck into his room. She got down on the floor, and pulled the Spirograph from underneath the bed where she knew he kept it. She pulled out all the pieces and carefully set them up exactly like she saw him do it. She stuck the pen in and then…she could not make it work. She could not make beautiful designs. The gears jumped out of the ring. The ring would not stay in place. She couldn’t hold the pen right, so no ink came out. Her hands were too small, she pressed too hard when she wrote, and she could not hold everything in place and make the toy work. Joe was right. She just wasn’t ready. She needed to wait.

As years went on, Andi was finally able to do those things that she wanted to do. She was able to hit a ball across the yard. She could balance and ride a two-wheel bike. She could fish with a regular rod and reel. And yes, she finally got so she could make beautiful pictures with a Spirograph.

But not until she was ready. She had to wait.

Quakers use the word “waiting” a lot. Sometimes we talk about waiting worship – that time when we all sit quietly during meeting. We wait for God to give us direction. This often comes to us in as pictures in our head, thoughts, feelings, hunches, or even a whisper of words. God speaks to us to help us along.

Sometimes we also need to wait for the right time to get things done. We might have to wait until we are tall enough, or old enough, or kind enough, or angry enough, or patient enough, or calm enough to make things happen. Nothing takes root and grows in you until you are ready.

So my question to leave you with is “What are you waiting for, and what are you ready to do right now?”

Lord and creator: Thank you for all of the things we have gotten to do in our lives so far and thank you for all of the things waiting for us once we are ready. Amen

-Andrea Tacoronte