Jeanette Winterson, in her fantastic memoir Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal, writes:
“The one good thing about being shut in a coal hole is that it prompts reflection.”
She goes on to meditate on life, happiness and normalcy; results of the reflection that occurred during the many hours she was locked in the coal hole by her mother.
Now I don’t mean to suggest that a hospital waiting room is like a coal hole, but there is a similarity of ‘in-betweenness’ in the situations. In both cases, the job we have is to wait for the next phase, whether it be freedom from the coal hole or the opportunity to go in to an appointment. How we use that time is up to us, of course.
The waiting room does have more distractions than the coal hole, which is why, perhaps, Jeanette’s in-between time was more productive and profound than mine generally is. I have returned to my old ways of reading, writing and checking email in the time before I am called in. I have lost some of my capacity to just sit and ‘be’ during this time.
I would like to reactivate that part of me that knows how to wait. That will be my goal for tomorrow’s visit. Who knows what deep thoughts might appear. I’ll keep you posted.