Stuart Hough, Sunnyside Trading Co.

Last summer I was fortunate enough to spend a few days on an isolated beach in South Carolina. In the evenings, I would take a walk through the marshland’s barrier to the beach and one evening I noticed a plump frog sitting on the edge of the walkway. Almost mistaking the frog for a statue, I stopped to stare from a distance that did not alarm the frog. This frog was incredibly still. In fact, it looked to me as if it was doing nothing but sitting. After a few minutes of further, intense observation, I went on about my business.

An hour later I returned, and the frog was still there. Same place, same position, same frog. I sidled a little closer to confirm that this was, in fact, a real frog. And, then, I realized something: this frog was waiting.

It has been waiting this whole time, and probably even a lot longer, watching in hopeful anticipation for its next meal. I bid my new frog friend good night so that a meal might be more likely to materialize. But I could not stop thinking about this frog, and its uncanny ability to simply wait, as if its whole world depended on the act of waiting.

Because in many ways, it did.

The verb, “to wait” literally means “to stay in place in expectation of.” Put another way, to “wait” means to be that frog. For me, the part of the definition that affected me the most was not the piece about staying in place, although that, alone, was marvelous to experience. Rather, it was the “in expectation of” component. The frog seemed content to…wait.

Waiting so often has a negative connotation. We hate waiting in long lines or being placed on hold. We do our best to ensure that we do not have long to wait – travelling in the car, in line to pick up something, for a download, or to see immediate results for our efforts. We live our lives seeking the most immediate possible gratification for our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

But is there something to actually be gained from the act of waiting?

Waiting can help us figure out what’s important. Just by waiting, before jumping into something, we can sift through our priorities and their alignment (or lack) with our truest calling or purpose. The process of waiting can help us better understand ourselves: what matters? What do I care about? Is it something worth waiting for?

With the Spring Equinox taking place this weekend, our North Carolina Appalachian Mountain region will soon be full of pastel blooms and blossoms. Life seems to speed up as we jump into a season full of new life; a season bursting with new hopes, dreams, and adventures. Which means that now is the perfect time to consider the practice of waiting. What (or who) are you willing to wait for, as if your whole world depended on it? And why?

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