I study that cloud and try to make out its shape. A semicolon. That's it. A tidy, Times New Roman semicolon. A pause in the clear blue. The grammar book tells us that semicolons indicate "an audible pause." The grammar book also tells us that semicolons are often feared. How and when to use them?
Yes, that seems fitting. An audible pause. And a little scary. The narrative that is my life right now seems to have come to a rather audible pause. Where to go next? The questions in my mind are so loud I'm convinced others must be able to hear them. And why the pause when what I really would prefer is clear blue skies? A little scary.
I continue to circle the pond and the corner of my eye catches a flash of white. Spinning around, I see a Great Egret take off from his hiding place in the pond. Has he been here before? I don't think so, at least not that I've seen.
My eyes follow the flash -- soaring, circling, spiraling -- until it vanishes. "They shall mount up with wings like eagles," I recall. My mind reaches back for the prior phrase. Who is it that shall mount up with wings? Ah, yes. Those who wait for the Lord.
So a semicolon . . . and a reminder to wait for the Lord.
My final stretch takes me through the wild apple trees. One branch hangs especially low, a cluster of small apples well within reach. I can't resist, and I pluck the fruit. Holding it to my nose, I inhale deeply. Scent is a marvelous thing, and I'm transported to fall and applesauce and cinnamon and books and all things lovely. Perhaps I'm to pause, waiting for the fall? I like to think such tidy thoughts. But perhaps not. Perhaps this narrative pause will take me beyond the fall. Either way I know that it is through waiting on the Lord that I will find renewed strength.
I come home and tuck the apple atop a cozy row of fall-ish books. I look up Isaiah 40:31 to catch the words once again, and it leaps from the page like the egret from the pond: a semicolon.
Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.
This pause, this waiting, is good. Ann Voskamp chooses her words well: "Waiting is just a gift of time in disguise -- a time to pray wrapped up in a ribbon of patience."
First the wait, and then the soaring. And when I walk or soar or run again -- toward whatever the future holds -- I will have gained the strength that comes from the gift of time, the gift of being invited to wait upon the Lord.