Friday, October 17, 2014

Waiting In Hope

We are still waiting on our shipment. This week, Kraig's department head and Kraig tried to contact those overseeing the processing and got nowhere. No response to emails, no answers to phone calls. Last night Kraig told me they had strategized a plan of attack, which would start with him tracking down the office of the woman we needed to speak with and trying to talk with her in person the following day (today). Unfortunately, he'd have no time to do it until mid afternoon. This is the thing: these professors are swamped. They don't have time to wander around trying to track down errant staff. But here's the other thing: I do have time. And at last Kraig agreed to let me explore after our Spanish class this morning and see what I could find out. I think he has finally moved past the concern that I will completely lose my temper and explode. He has good reason to worry, as I haven't withheld my ire when the two of us are talking about it, but the truth is, I panic when I have to confront someone and am more often then not overly apologetic.

But anyway. I had my chance at last, and last night and this morning my brain whirled with possible conversations. How would I ask about things? How would I express my concern? I wasn't sure if I'd be able to speak in English or Spanish, so I practiced different Spanish phrases in my head. I knew I wanted to say something along the lines of, "We're waiting for our shipment," but I couldn't remember the word for "wait". This morning I looked it up and found esperar. I looked at it in confusion. Wasn't that the word for "hope"? So I typed "hope" into my handy-dandy translator and up popped esperar again. I tried out different phrases using both "wait" and "hope" and each time the translation used esperar. 

"Maybe there's another word we don't know about," Kraig suggested when I showed it to him. So we posed it to our Spanish teacher. It turns out that no, there is no other word--"wait" and "hope" are both esperar. "But how do you differentiate?" we asked. Apparently the only way is through context. Usually "wait" includes a time reference, but "hope" implies a wish or desire to be fulfilled. 

I can't stop thinking about this. Though the two words are related in my mind, they stand quite separately. It's a completely different thing for me to say, "I am hoping for our shipment," and "I am waiting for our shipment." When I hope for something, I'm looking forward to it and longing for it. I can do this for a long time. Hope takes on spiritual significance, whether in something as simple as hoping we'll have lovely weather tomorrow, or as complex as hoping my children will grow up to be gracious, godly people. On the other hand, when I wait for something it usually involves biting my fingernails and tapping my toes. I want it now, but I'll grit my teeth and wait since I have to. Of course, looking at the title of my blog begs the question that maybe there is more hope in my wait than I think there is.

It makes me wonder how this affects the culture here in Guadalajara. If "wait" and "hope" are synonymous barring context, how does that influence thinking and behavior? Maybe I'm trying to make too much of this, but I'm going to start paying attention to see if there is something to this. In the meantime, this morning I was able to find a couple people to speak to in English and we clarified some things about the shipment. This afternoon I trekked back over, kids in tow, to double-check that a promised phone call had been made to the customs agent. It had, more papers had been sent, and I was told they would call me again on Monday with an update. 

So this weekend I wait in hope that we will actually see our boxes sooner than later.


  1. Anonymous12:50 AM

    This absolutely blew my mind, Loren! A spiritual lesson for sure...... wow. Praying with you, and hoping with you!

    Love you,

    1. Dear Pam--thank you for praying and hoping with us.