Until recently, I used to think of waiting rooms as one of those dreaded places where we were put in anticipation of receiving bad news or an unpleasant procedure. Given a choice, we would rather be anywhere else in the world. Waiting rooms were places decorated to appear comforting with unoffensive paint and carpeting choices, neutral furniture , and tattered copies of National Geographic, People Magazine and the Fisherman’s Digest. Mindless unattended silent captioned TV’s unsuccessfully tried to divert our attention.
Many of us have been spending a great deal of time in waiting rooms recently and I’m finding them to be much different places than I had remembered. We now share these places with friends and loved ones and the news is more often positive and hopeful. Strangers that we share the space with tend to be forthcoming about very private and personal matters and for a brief time seem to become nearest friends. Waiting rooms have become an opportunity to encounter people that we wouldn’t have otherwise met and who’s stories and problems are frequently more challenging than our own.
We at UCH have been in a version of a waiting room for for several years and we have shared the unique opportunity to learn a great deal about one another in an pleasant atmosphere of managed anxiety as we each worry about the future of our church. One of the lessons that I have learned over past months is that It’s more difficult dealing with the unknown than it it is to face reality and to realize all of the many the options that may be ahead for us.