"Find me in the river" - being OK with waiting

“Find me in the river” – being OK with waiting

I used to think that the two most important questions a leader faces is when to start and when to stop. Now I suspect there is a third: when to wait.

Starting is relatively easy. Stopping is much harder. Waiting is almost non-existent in a leader’s vocabulary. And by ‘leader’ I don’t just mean someone at the top of an organisation, though they may have a sense of more autonomy.

Find me in the river

Over the last few months I’ve often found myself standing in the middle of the brook at the top of our valley, where the original reservoir started. Letting the clear water run over and around my feet. Being still in the dappled light, surrounded by the noise of nature doing its thing.

It’s a peaceful place with a sense of movement.

Choosing to just stand and wait has been a deliberate choice, often in the face of much ‘unknowing’. Where are we going? I don’t know. How will we get there? I don’t know. Can we survive? I don’t know. When will things change? I don’t know. What do other people think? Do I want to know…

But I do know that I need to be prepared to actively wait – even when all of me screams ‘do something!’ It’s an extraordinary, powerless, liberating position. Not hopeless or helpless. Just now and at this time. To rest, knowing it will pass and become clear. Knowing that grace is enough. Gratitude does trump fear if I exercise it.

I don’t think this is presumptuous or abdication. I’m standing in a long line of people who sensed they were part of something that’s bigger than them. That their instrument was part of a much bigger orchestra, where spaces – rests in the score – are as important as the notes.

This is so counter cultural!

Just waiting here

Last week, while enjoying the early morning light on the water, I was reminded of a 1995 Martin Smith/Delirious song “Find me in the river”. When it was released Steve, my husband, had been really ill for a year and the likelihood of his making a full recovery was receding.

Every time I heard it this song was a release valve, tears streaming down my face as I was driving. But not with hopelessness or anger. Just recognition that this was where I was at. And it was OK.

Find me in the river
Find me on my knees
I’ve walked against the water
Now I’m waiting if you please

We’ve longed to see the roses
But never felt the thorns
And bought our pretty crowns
But never paid the price

Find me in the river
Find me there
Find me on my knees with my soul laid bare
Even though you’re gone and I’m cracked and dry
Find me in the river, I’m waiting here

Find me in the river
Find me on my knees
I’ve walked against the water
Now I’m waiting if you please

We didn’t count on suffering
We didn’t count on pain
But if the blessing’s in the valley
Then in the river I will wait

Martin Smith ©1995 Curious? Music UK

Isn’t this just personal?

Being prepared to be OK about waiting – is this just about me?

Could be, but from all I have heard and seen around me, I suspect not.

In our always on, always immediate world, there is an overwhelming pressure to be active, to sort it. “Don’t just stand there, do something.” Anything, it seems, feels better than just waiting.

But in retrospect how many times would pressing the pause button have been better?

waiting find me in the river Waterside Felindre

Think about it…

And give yourself permission to stand still when you need to.

If the blessing’s in the valley then in the river I will wait.

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