Ah…the sweet pain of anticipation. One of the most underrated privileges of being human. I love simmering in the pot of anticipation; it’s hope, excitement, longing, desire and delayed gratification in one beautiful package. It is bitter and it is sweet. Longing for what is to come is an ache that needs to be fully felt in order to fully appreciate realized dreams. The more intense the longing, and the longer the anticipation builds, the sweeter the resolution.
A large percentage of the joy of attaining things hoped for is the waiting and the looking forward. I’ll Google and Bing and Weather.com my upcoming vacation for months before the departure date. When I was pregnant, I read every book on childbirth and babies I could find and spent hours assembling things like swings, cribs, strollers, and bouncy seats. Nine months is a long time to wait for something you’ve been looking forward to your whole life! Half the fun of things like Prom is shopping for the dress, planning your hair and dreaming about the way your date will swoon when he’s dazzled by your radiance. Having something to look forward to is one of the driving forces of my life. It keeps depression at bay and provides the motivation necessary to keep moving forward.
Then there’s the anticipatory pursuit that requires active participation to bring the event into reality, like purchasing a home. How satisfying it is when after you’ve said no to smart phones, cable, lattes, manicures, and credit cards, and yes to a shoe box apartment, hand-me-down furniture, stay-cations, used cars, and the cheap seats, you sign on the line for your dream home. Without the sacrifice, and without the waiting, and without the anticipation, that moment would not be as sweet. If you’ve worked hard and waited long for something, then that thing has greater value. I prefer it that way.
I’ve heard of couples who save their first kiss for the altar, but I would hate to have missed out on all of the longing and desire and passion that a simple kiss can bring. There is nothing on this earth that can match the splendid ache left by a tender, lingering kiss followed by the words “goodnight” as your heart is left pounding and your body trembling. I treasure that season of my life, and I made it last.
Unsatisfied desires, intense unrealized longing, burning passion without resolution; this is the painful pleasure of anticipation. This is the fuel for a vibrant life. The hope that dreams will come true, and realizing a few along the way is where all the juicy good stuff can be found. Savor every moment of anticipation and celebrate every season of satisfaction. It is a gift to humanity from our Creator who understands the beauty of the dance created by tension and release.