How hope makes waiting bearable

We had a crisis in our house this week.

As are most crises with teenagers, this one was astronomical. It involved — get ready, it’s big — our daughter losing her cell phone.

International relief funds have been started over tragedies smaller than this.

“I think I left it behind at school,” she explained in a panic while using someone else’s phone. “I couldn’t go back and check or I’d miss the bus home.”

You can imagine how this crisis set the table for dinner conversation.

“Surely someone stole it,” she and my husband believed.

“Maybe a good person picked it up and is holding it for you for tomorrow,” I offered.

Multiple eye rolls were my only payment for offering the possibility of, well, hope.

As my daughter’s stress level continued to rise, I detected teachable moment. The question is, “What do you do with The Wait?”

Dear Reader, what do you do with your Wait?

That time between now and seeing how something turns out.

Before you get the medical tests back? Before you find out if you got the job? Before you know if he will call for a second date?

“I’m going to believe in the good person theory,” I told my daughter.

“But, how do you know?” she doubted my optimism.

“I don’t,” I admitted. “But I also don’t know that your phone was stolen. Once you’ve done everything you can, the only thing you can control is how much time you spend looping the bad possibilities over and over again in your head.”

She shrugged her doubting shoulders.

Within the hour of dropping her off at the school bus the next day, I felt my cell phone buzzing in the pocket of my worn sweatpants.

I couldn’t help but smile at the caller ID.

My daughter’s name was flashing on the screen.

“I got my phone back!” she screamed. “You were right! One of the security guards locked it up for the night. That’s why no one answered when I tried to call it or use the tracking app!”

Score one for the good guys.

I can only hope Daughter took note.

Sure, I know the news won’t always be good at the end of an anticipated wait.

And I’ve certainly tortured myself enough times with dreadful “What If’s.”

You, too?

These days, the “What If’s” and I are broken up.

I’m not some evolved spiritual being. More like a little worn-down, broken-in. The journalist in me likes to do an inventory of the facts I actually know. It’s usually not much.

There’s usually more “What If’s” trying to bang around my head than actual facts.

So what if good guys won’t always win?

There’s plenty of time to deal with muck once I know an actual outcome.

It sure is nicer to hang out with hope in my head. That is how I wait.

How about you? Better to email me at

Y’know, just in case I lose my phone.