Keeping Your Waiting Place Bright

If you need a quick dose of profound inspiration, try a picture book. After spending many a night of the last decade in a rocking chair with a small person and a picture book, the children's genre has been resurrected as my favorite. These books influenced me in the influential years. But as someone who is trying to be an adult, with some of life's difficulties to make me think more deeply, I've realized there is great wisdom to be found on an illustrated page.

It's been helpful this summer, when I've been stuck in the Waiting Place. It's a place Dr. Seuss described in Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Dr. Seuss stories almost always tackle some larger social issue. I was surprised to find a book of his political cartoons at the library one day. I had no idea he was an outspoken voice in WWII, trying to urge Americans to take the threat seriously. But...the Waiting Place. 

It's different than a Lurch or a Slump. 

You'll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you'll be in a Slump.

And when you're in a Slump,
you're not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.

I'll admit there has been a bit of Lurching and Slumping this summer, but nothing that a few good hours to myself, or with friends couldn't fix. 

No, this has been the summer of  

The Waiting Place...
...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or No

And that is me. I'm waiting for someone to have faith in my story. 

Compared to others, my Waiting Place isn't so bad.

People in my life are Waiting to have cancer or not.

They're Waiting for a forest fire to burn their house or not. 

Outside the sky is dark and smoky, the sun a heart-squeezing red that makes me want to pack the car. Waiting for a disaster or not. 

In my inbox is the lack of an email saying we've found Time Walker's home. Waiting for a career or not. 

That's not for you!

Somehow you'll escape 
all that waiting and staying.
You'll find the bright places
Where Boom Bands are playing. 

And that's the secret, right there. I still have to wait, but why not wait in a bright place with Boom Bands, instead of a dark place with doubts? Dark places grow mold and fungus and doubt and fear. And that's gross. So instead I'll write blog posts about poop. I know...but it's a different kind of gross, right? 

I had another profound picture book moment reading Harold and the Purple Crayon to Weezie. If you haven't read it, well then, gasp. You should. Harold, with his purple crayon, can create whatever he has the imagination to think of. But he has a hard time getting where he needs and wants to be most. I feel you Harold. I really do. No matter how many windows you draw, you just can't find your window, and your home. 

In the car, the kids and I have been listening to Half Magic, by Edward Eager, a great book from the 50s. 

Something one of the characters said grabbed me by the collar and jerked me right out of a dark, doubting place. "She knew she would win in the end, because she'd wished it that way. But what was she to do in the beginning and middle?"

She figured it out though, and so am I. 

Here's wishing you Boom Bands and brightness in your Waiting Places, and, like Harold, if you can't find home, draw your window around the moon.


I've been posting daily #timetraveltips on Instagram and Facebook. I learn something new everyday, and if you'd like to join me by liking, following and sharing, it would make my Waiting Place even brighter. 

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