Waiting on Disaster

Categories Life, Self

Last week’s headlines were filled with disaster. Hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes…and much more. Terrible.

As I listened to days of updates, I couldn’t help but wonder what it must be like to sit squarely in the path of destruction. How it feels to know with certainty that it will affect you or your loved ones. How powerless it must feel to know there is nothing you can do but wait.

I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of waiting lately. I wait for letters of acceptance or rejection from publications. Wait for my efforts to yield some financial windfall – or even the slightest tickle of a breeze. Wait to see goals and dreams to come to fruition. I wait in traffic, in doctors’ offices, in the phlebotomy lab – 45 minutes last week. Seriously? I wait for my daughter to finish her shower at night, for my husband to finish his late-night schoolwork and come to bed.

The world and our lives are filled with waiting.

We wait upon disaster, it seems, as though we expect it to happen. We are certain things won’t work the way we hope, that we won’t succeed. And many times that is true. But does it qualify as disaster? A disaster doesn’t have to bring a catastrophic loss of life – although that is certainly the type with which we are most familiar. If we look farther down the list of definitions, though, we find that disaster is, simply, an event or fact that has unfortunate consequences. And that could be anything.

We all have our own definition of disaster. And no one’s reality is any less troublesome or difficult than another’s; it all comes down to perspective. Some disasters are easily recognized, objectively horrible. But others are more private, hidden from public view. Each is real and each is terrible.

In the aftermath, we begin the process of recovery, of healing. We start to think about moving forward, rebuilding, getting on with whatever new version of life awaits us. And there it is again – the waiting. Many who have suffered the losses of natural disaster recently wait on word from loved ones, wait to see the condition of their homes, wait on money, food and water, and other assistance to help get them through even just today. We wait for grief to run its course, for illness to abate, for babies and mail to arrive.

Waiting is a challenge for many of us. I am very possibly the least patient human being I know. No one likes to wait. But what if we could find something to do with all that time we spend waiting for…whatever? What if we found a way to redefine that time, to see it as something of value all on its own, rather than just a means to an end?

A dear friend published a book last year and I have read it twice since then. Christine Carter’s Help and Hope While You’re Healing is intended as a guide for women who are recovering from injury, illness, or surgery. I will argue that while she speaks to the woman’s heart, anyone can benefit from her practical advice and wisdom, and her book has application beyond the physical aspects of its content. Thinking about disaster and waiting reminded me of what Chris said on the topic of waiting – that we can make our waiting worthy. She challenges readers to consider the opportunities that can be found while we wait on our lives, to find value and beauty in the bridge between what is and what we hope for.

There is no good or easy answer to the question of why disasters strike, why bad things happen in our lives. But I do believe that somehow, there is purpose to every moment of our lives, to every challenge, and to every period of waiting. There are days for all of us when that is so incredibly difficult and I will tell you honestly that I have my share of days when I just don’t see it. Sometimes that perspective is only available when we look back. But if we don’t choose to somehow do something, take even one small step toward tomorrow, we may never see it.

My thoughts and prayers are with all who are faced with disaster right now, and with all who wait on something or someone. I’m there, too. But rather than assume disaster or bemoan the challenge of our waiting, let’s strive for patience and seek ways to make our waiting worthy.


This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence prompt is “When it comes to natural disasters…” contributed by April of April Noelle. Finish the Sentence Friday is hosted this week by April and, as always, by the lovely Kristi of Finding NineeFINISH THE SENTENCE FRIDAY is a link-up that enables writers and bloggers to share their ideas based on a particular sentence. To stay ahead of future sentences and participate, join our FACEBOOK GROUP! 

Lisa A. Listwa is a self-employed writer with experience in education, publishing, and the martial arts. Believing there was more to life than punching someone else’s time clock and inspired by the words of Henry David Thoreau, she traded her life as a high school educator for a life as a writer and hasn’t looked back. She is mother to one glorious handful of a daughter, wife to the nicest guy on the planet, and reluctant but devoted owner of three Rotten Cats. You can find her adventures and thoughts on living life deliberately here on the blog.

16 thoughts on “Waiting on Disaster

    1. I think when we’re waiting, we become our own worst enemy. We create scenarios in the mind and no matter how things end up, it’s nothing like we imagined. Best to find some other way to occupy ourselves, probably.

  1. Making our waiting worthy. What a concept, and one so hard to practice. I love the idea though and am going to try. Lovely writing, Lisa. So true, too, that our perspective is really what matters – each of us experience things as we do. It’s like we have to remind ourselves that because others have it worse, that doesn’t mean our own issues aren’t challenging. Here’s hoping for your windfall soon (or breeze). oxo

    1. Totally Chris’s words, but they fit so well with what was on my mind. And yes, hard to practice! I think worth the effort, though. I’ve actually been thinking about that for several weeks since I last read her book.
      I see people say so often “well you know what what it’s like to…” or “I shouldn’t feel this way because others have it worse…” That’s dangerous thinking. We are all affected by different things in different ways. Live and let live, you know?
      Hope you and T. are doing OK. Hugs to you both. <3

  2. I have been doing a lot of those same kinds of waiting you mentioned lately Lisa. I am also the type to worry a lot about a disaster to strike my world, but I have never experienced that in a Mother Nature sort of scenario. I can’t imagine such winds or rains or intense fires as have been occurring recently and so I will cope with a little waiting around for those things I do. Great points and you gave me the idea for a title to my TToT post this week. Thank you. Hope you don’t mind I use it, but I will be happy to credit you.

  3. Thank you. I really appreciate your heartfelt writing. The reason I dislike hurricanes, as compared to earthquakes, is the waiting, the anxiety of wondering whether this will be the one that will wipe out my and my family’s entire existence. Although earthquakes are unsettling, they’re here and they’re gone within seconds, as opposed to days. Thank you for linking up with FTSF.

    1. Not that either is a good situation, but I can see how the waiting and worrying can make it so much worse emotionally – at least on the front side. Glad you’re OK!

  4. I was awful at waiting but with more years behind me than ahead of me I am am now not bad at waiting and I hope someday to be good at it. Of course, if the number of years it took to get from awful to not bad is any indication I will probably be dead before I am any good at waiting.

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