I’m related to one of the greatest storytellers currently in existence.
It’s my uncle. Biased? Maybe.
Anyway, he was in town last Wednesday so we took him to one of our favorite taprooms and started the evening with a round of beers. Libations and stories go together like butter and toast—and Adam had a bunch. Stories about my mom in high school and all the hearts (and cars) she broke. Stories about near-death experiences and angels. No joke.
My favorite took place on a farm in Oklahoma and it revolved around this kid, Shad. Adam called him “equal parts fearless and uncoordinated.” Picture that. That’s a wild and dangerous life, right there. Try anything, get injured mostly.
We were practically in tears as Adam narrated the epic tales of this guy’s courtship with danger. Barbed wire, ATVs, fishing hooks. He spelled it all out between swigs of IPA and stifled laughter. At the end of the night, Trev and I drove home and agreed: my uncle is a fantastic storyteller.
“It’s because he’s comfortable with pauses,” Trev decided as we turned down our street.
I think Trev’s right. Time after time, Adam had us all leaning in waiting for the next line. He never rushed the plot. At one silent point in the Shad story, Trev had tried to finish Adam’s sentence. My uncle simply held up a hand, “I’m getting there,” and continued with the pause. “It gets better.”
Of course, that got me thinking.
There’s a tug-of-war that happens frequently in my life. Every month to be exact. For at least two weeks. It’s a back-and-forth wrenching between agony and anticipation. And I usually flail and fall on the wrong side. Rope burns and all.
Those stalled spaces between the last and the next moment of a plot are my kryptonite. Waiting is grueling work. Truly. At least that’s how I let it feel. Every other day I’m watching the clock like, “God if this isn’t gonna happen just tell me now.” I’m bargaining for fast forwards and “Advance to Go” cards like it’s Monopoly.
I just want to know.
I want to know if I’m on the brink of more pain and more disappointment. I want to get it over with. And it kills me sitting in this meantime.
But then I think of that good storytelling I heard Wednesday. What would happen if I threw a giant wrench in my thought process—let those cogs grind to a shrieking halt then sent them spinning in another direction? What if I finally put some spine into that tug-of-war and fell on the right side of the line for once? What if I started seeing those agonizing plot pauses as an epic build of hopeful anticipation?
What if each month that amounted to pain and nausea and emotional disarray for no reason actually contributed to the epic moment of one day hearing that tiny heartbeat.
In just the right time.
I’d be far better off if I thought like that, don’t you think? Perspective, perspective, perspective. I’ll preach it until I’m dead. Agony or anticipation. One of these things is better than the other.
Dear self: put your freakin’ back into it.