As I write this I am sitting listening to call waiting music. As call waiting music goes it's actually not that bad. Gentle ambient tones are massaging my eardrums as I wait patiently to speak to a member of customer support. The worst call waiting music I have been subjected to is that of our workplace IT support team. It starts with this long drawn out 'jazzy' note on the clarinet & then wobbles into a poorly thought out melody over some rubbish synth tones. If hell has a waiting room; this would be the music that is played whilst we uncomfortably wait . Actually, probably hell is just a series of waiting rooms with really bad music & other people who won't socially distance & clearly have a contagious cough.
The IT call waiting music is so bad & I have had to listen to it so often that I can actually recognise it from a colleague's handset over the other side of the office. I harbour unchristian fantasies involving my forcibly parting the clarinet player from their instrument & then reuniting them with it in anatomically painful ways.
Quite the worst thing about it, is that every few seconds the music drops out and a pre recorded message is played 'we are sorry for your wait, your call is important to us' & other lies. Because this message is recorded at slightly lower volume than the awful music, it forces one to quickly increase the volume of the call every time in the hopes that the wait is at an end & the call has in fact been answered. It never is an answering human being & a few moments later one is rewarded for ones foolish optimism by the clarinet music being blasted into ones eardrum at stupidly high volume. You quickly reduce the call volume accordingly & the whole wretched cycle begins again.
I have unfortunately had to endure the same music for many hours over the past decade & it makes me idly wonder how much of my life has been spent waiting on telephones. In fact how much of my life has been spent waiting full stop. If I tallied up all of the time that I have spent in traffic queues, waiting at airports, waiting to get into the shower, waiting for my wife to get ready for a date (always worth the wait though)... would it add up to months? Years?
This is the sort of thing that I want to ask God about when I get to heaven (hopefully he is as patient as the bible claims). I don't really care about answers to prayer or finding out what my tithe money accomplished. I want to know things like how much of my life was spent waiting for the lights to change.
Call waiting is hard because of the constant feeling of disappointed hope. Life is like that sometimes. I used to spend a lot of time at church with a feeling that I was waiting for God to release me into doing something amazing in his body. It used to make me feel really agitated. I would ask questions like 'when is it going to happen?' 'When is God going to release me to be a great bible teacher or a great worship leader'.
The danger is that when hope disappoints us, & it doesn't happen, we become bitter & cynical. Unable to celebrate the goodness that is going on in our lives & in the lives of those around us.
In the end I stopped feeling frustrated & hoping for something to begin, & found some measure of peace.
Then one day God told me that my calling from Him was what I had been doing all along. I was working in mental health & had a reasonably successful career therein.
I was like 'What!? All this time I've been waiting to be released into some kind of calling & it's been what I was doing all along'.
What I thought was call waiting music was actually the soundtrack to God's calling on my life.
Things started to change.
I had been sleepwalking through the last few years of my career but now that I saw it as a calling from God. I became massively invested again. I was excited about my job for the first time in a long time.
I started praying for my organisation, praying for my boss, praying for my clients. Praying for anything that stayed still long enough to slap an 'Amen' onto.
Rather than the feeling of my hopes being disappointed; I was hopeful & excited again. Church was still important but it became the MASH tent that I returned to at the end of a hard week rather than the central focus of my week. Church wasn't my call. Church was there to provision & prepare me to meet God's call on my life throughout the week.
So I would like to encourage you, dear reader. If you, like me, are tired of feeling that your life is on permanent 'call waiting' then dare to get on your knees & ask God whether you are even on the right call in the first place.
Give Him the right to put your passions & talents wherever He sees fit (even if it's not where you thought).
I guarantee you, it will end up better than you could do by yourself.
Good luck.... and kill that clarinet player for me if you see him!