When my husband and I were newly dating, his washing machine broke. If it had been mine, Sears or Lowes would have had a same-day visit and a plea to be at my house the next day with a new one.
But Kevin is a much more cautious consumer than yours truly and has to thoroughly research any major purchase. So for a month, he hand-washed his clothes while he studied consumer reports and reviews on every washing machine known to modern man. He wanted to be 100 percent certain that every dollar of his purchase was 100 percent wisely spent.
I rolled my eyes a lot behind the safety of my cellphone… And happily washed away in my functioning machine. (To clarify, we lived fairly far apart, so my offering to have him bring his laundry to my house wasn’t practical).
Now married and in our own home, we are facing an even bigger home-related purchase together: a new roof. We’ve been in the house less than a year and already fixed six leaks, so when three more sprang—and started seeping through the ceilings during a freak winter storm that spawned torrential downpours and even tornados—we knew it was futile to continue plugging the holes.
Unfortunately, we live in south Florida, where the houses are fair-sized and the roofs are tile. Meaning, they are expensive to replace. Very expensive. As in, “I could lay wood floors in the entire house and resurface the pool and go on a few luxury vacations for this” expensive.
So now we are journeying together through the process of carefully hiring a roofing company and selecting tile.
Except… We can’t select the tile.
We have different tastes. They have different prices. Some are available right away, some are not. Do we want flat or barrel? Small barrel or large barrel? A light color or a blend?
Kevin has climbed up and down the ladder placing samples (yes, they are heavy) on the roof, while I’ve stood at the end of the driveway making a telescope with my hand in a futile attempt to figure out what the whole roof might look like with the tan tile or the multi-color one.
We’ve driven through new home neighborhoods to see what’s current, and taken photos of strangers’ homes who have roofs we “kind of” like.
We’ve already alienated one salesman, who complained that, “I’ve been messing around with you for a month,” and I fear we’re starting to wear on the patience of his replacement as well.
It’s a big purchase. It has to be a careful one.
But my brain is tired and my impatient self is ready to make a decision. We’re down to two samples. I’ve let Kevin know which one I like, but that I’ll abide by his choice.
But he isn’t 100 percent certain.
So I wait.
And I’ve learned the key to waiting even when I don’t really want to:
Be willing to wait.
That’s it. It came to me today as I felt my anxiety threaten to rise when Kevin told me that he drove by a complete stranger’s house and while he was snapping pictures, the owner came out and chatted with him… Then actually gave him a tile sample from a pile in his side yard.
“I don’t want a third sample. We have two favorites, 12 more in the garage, and I’ve picked one. I’m done!” I wanted to cry out.
Be willing to wait.
But I didn’t, and I won’t. I’ll wait. And I realized as I let out a deep breath after listening to his story and going about my day that the only thing I needed to do to cope with the waiting is to be willing.
Waiting for things you want to do is fun; the anticipation makes the reality so much sweeter. Waiting on things that are stressful is, well, stressful! I’m a get-it-done-now kind of girl, so I don’t generally wait too long on anything. I don’t know where the “patience of a saint” idiom originated, but saints are dead and in heaven and have perfect lives and no agendas, and that description pretty much fits my husband. He can calmly wait on anything until he’s good and ready to decide.
So waiting is not my nature. But being willing is something I can do. Something everyone can do. It’s part of a grit and grace life!
I’m going to keep telling myself that as I go out in the garage and hide the rest of the samples!