I am the luckiest girl on earth. I turned 40 and I did not self-combust! Much better than that, I was spoiled rotten by my family and my friends! What a treat it has been. Amongst the lovely gifts I received is a gorgeous pair of Dr. Martin boots- colour red! Not the classic style, different and perfect. Now I suspect a few of you may have owned a pair of Dr. Martins when you were younger and perhaps some of you are currently proud owners! (before I continue I know that some of my friends have a particular dislike of these boots- if you are reading this then just try to imagine they are some other brand…I know it is hard but try). If you have ever owned Dr. Martins you will know that once you have worn them in they quickly become the most comfy shoes you own and you become tempted to try and find a way to team them up with every outfit you own- shorts, jeans, your lovely new skirt- not always with success! But before the boots start to feel like you are wearing a pair of water proof socks they totally ruin your feet!! You have to ‘walk them in’ as my mum used to say about Bata Toughies school shoes.
You have to wear them through blisters and blood. You have to hobble around for weeks like you have tried to walk over hot coals after forgetting to meditate! The bloody boots hurt so much you want to sell them to another unsuspecting victim on EBay. And then one day you put them on expecting agony and you get comfort. Ahhhhh your feet are happy! Plus you look super cool. And you have boots that will last you through many winters and music festivals. Music festivals? Ok, realistically I mean the kid’s school music recital that includes lots of out of tune flute playing but music is music.
Waiting for something is like having a new pair of Dr Martins. ‘What are you talking about?’ I hear you whisper at the computer screen. Well, wait for it, I will explain J
Are you waiting for an answer to prayer? Maybe you are ill and are waiting to be healed. Perhaps you have a child who is struggling and you are waiting, watching anxiously for a flicker that things are getting better. Maybe you are waiting for a better job, for a husband, for a baby to be conceived. Has God placed a dream in your heart for something that seems impossible to you? Maybe you have not even told anyone what he has whispered in your ear for fear of them laughing at the absurdity of it. And so we wait and wait and wait.
When you are waiting for something that God has promised you it is like knowing the boots will one day be your most comfy shoes even though currently they are far from it. Sometimes it can be painful or at best uncomfortable. And you will often look at the dream or promise and think ‘I was definitely wrong’ just as you look at the wretched boots and think that they will never stop hurting you.
It isn’t the waiting that is important my friend, it is how you wait that matters. You can spend your time complaining and allowing the blood and blisters to stop you from walking. You can give up and take the boots to the charity shop. But then you will never have the most comfortable boots in the world. Or you can walk it out, day by day, choosing to believe that God holds you in his hand.
One of the best lessons I have learnt, is that how you wait changes what you get in the end. When you remember to look up from your sore feet and reach out into somebody else’s life, you will soon forget that you are in pain. You can help you neighbour, serve your community, look after your friends, go the extra mile for your family without expecting anything in return, give money and time to those in need, stop gossiping and start listening, talk to the lonely mum in the playground and buy her a coffee, ask the tired checkout lady how her day has been, put the trolley back into the right place, give way to someone in the traffic jam, take food to someone who is ill, babysit for a mum that is so tired she cannot think straight so that she can sleep, smile at the teenagers on the street corner, pray for the young mum on the bus and don’t judge her, paint someone’s house, clear their garden….
What then you ask? Then one day you will notice you were so busy being God’s light in the dark world that you didn’t even notice that the pain was gone, the blisters had healed and on your feet were the boots you had always longed for.