Matt Knutson: Waiting is hard, but can lead to growth, joy

Published 10:03 am Friday, November 4, 2016

Rochester resident Matt Knutson is the communications and events director for United Way of Olmsted County.

“Waiting is hard,” I told my wife upon reflecting on some of our current events in life. There’s always something we’re waiting on, and sometimes that can be challenging. Waiting can feel uncomfortable, and all too often, unnecessary. It is however, a necessary part of life.

The other night I was reading “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss to our baby girl and rediscovered the part on The Waiting Place. In the literary classic, The Waiting Place is described as “a most useless place” where everyone is just waiting. I don’t think waiting is entirely useless, but it isn’t normally where someone wants to be. It’s easy to feel stuck in the waiting place.

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Right now we’re days from an important election. From the president all the way down to local city council races, we’re all just waiting for Tuesday. All of our communities can drastically change under new and returning leadership at the city, county, state, and national level. Doesn’t it feel so very uncomfortable not knowing what that will look like? Here’s another piece of uncomfortableness: Even when we know who has been elected, we don’t know many of the important decisions that they’ll be deciding while in office, or even what may occur in the months before they begin their term. There’s so much waiting.

For my family personally, we continue waiting for my wife to become a citizen. Sera has been in the country since 2007, we were married in 2013, and we’re still waiting. For anyone who tells you this process is easy, please have them come wait with us. I’m looking forward to losing this weight that we carry with us in this continual uncertainty while we wait.

More recently, we’re waiting for Gracelyn to feel better. She’s on her ninth (maybe 10th) ear infection. It’s hard to keep track at this point. For a nine-month-old baby girl, that’s a lot. In the grand scheme of things, we’re blessed that everything else is fine for our baby girl’s health. Despite weeks of preventative medicine, the doctor discovered another ear infection at our nine month checkup. This future world leader will undergo her first surgery next week to have tubes put in her ears, and we believe we are in the final days of waiting for her to finally feel better. Before becoming a parent, I never grasped what this attachment to another human could be like. When she’s not feeling well, there’s an ache, a longing for us to get out of this waiting place. Hopefully we’ll arrive there soon.

Because we do all leave the waiting place eventually. Most certainly, there are more waiting places around every corner, but as I was told as a child, good things do come to those who wait. Sera reminded me of this just yesterday as we revisited our garden. Many weeks ago, I shared with you that we had the opportunity to plant our first garden this summer. We may have planted a little late in the season, and it may not have been the most cared for garden, but it was ours. Really, it was my wife’s, as I knew if I did anything with it, it would become mine. I did not want it to become mine.

Then I heard Sera joyfully squealing in the backyard while I was peacefully resting in the house. My African queen was jumping around in our tiny garden wearing an oversized T-shirt, shorts that probably weren’t entirely weather appropriate, winter boots and a shovel nearly as tall as she was. She had discovered her sweet potatoes that were planted long ago, and could not contain her excitement. After many weeks of waiting, she uncovered five (rather small) sweet potatoes. Good things come to those who wait.

In whatever you’re waiting for, I encourage you to be patient. The challenge that comes with waiting can also bring incredible growth. Waiting isn’t a time for being stagnant. It’s a time of preparation. You don’t plant a seed, walk away for the season and hope for a bountiful crop. You till the land, water the ground and weed the soil while you wait for the reward. Waiting is hard, but it can often lead to great joy.