Waiting for a COVID19 vaccine or vaccines describes ‘expectant waiting’ as I understand the phrase.
Marcel, a Catholic theologian, wrote about ‘expectant waiting’. I came across Marcel’s work as I was making sense of different conceptions of hope.
Marcel taught me that expectant waiting does not mean sitting on the couch. That is wishing. Grade 4 students taught me that wishing is in the head and hoping happens in the heart.
My understanding of Marcel’s ‘expectant waiting’ asks that we accept things as they are for what they are. Expectant waiting requires patience. Patience is required in hoping. Whereas when we wish we often want things to happen quickly and oftentimes without having to be involved. Expectant waiting relies on the process of hoping and not on the hoped for. Expectant waiting asks us to focus on being and not so much on doing. For me, that means actively being open to the possibilities that appear while waiting.
Although I regularly water and check in on my Christmas cactus weekly to keep it alive, I am always pleasantly surprised at its beauty when it blooms twice a year like clockwork.
So, what can we do while we expectantly wait for the better times that a COVID19 vaccine will bring? For me, this means, being open to the joy that comes from learning new ways of relating, feeling, acting and thinking. It means being attentive to what I learn and how I grow as I learn to not be in control.
It means adapting to that uncertainty while making sure that I am taking care of my physical, mental, spiritual and emotional life.
Finally, it also means accepting that I may have to wear a mask/physically distance myself, be more attentive to my hand washing to protect myself and others long after the vaccine is available.
Expectant waiting is about doing my part to ensure that we ALL come out of these uncertain times with a sense of what is possible when we take care of ourselves and each other in sustaining and nourishing ways before and after the vaccine is available.