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Middle English, from Anglo-French waiter, guaiter to watch over, await, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German wahta watch, Old English wæccan to watch
Date: 14th century
1 a: to remain stationary in readiness or expectation; b: to pause for another to catch up. 2 a: to look forward expectantly; b: to hold back expectantly. 3: to be ready and available.
Most of us would never wait for anything if we didn’t have to. Waiting is usually forced upon us – we wait in line; we wait in traffic; we wait for computers to boot up; we wait for results of medical tests to come back; we wait for injuries to heal; we wait for food to be cooked; we wait for babies to be delivered; we wait for the harshness of winter to give way to the gentleness of spring; we wait for the heat of summer to give way to the cool breezes of fall; we wait for death.
In my work I watch people waiting everyday – waiting for death to take them or to take one they love. Part of my job is to wait alongside them and to listen to whatever they want to talk about while they wait. Sometimes they talk about the weather or how often they have to fill the bird feeder. Sometimes they talk about the things they would do if they had more time. Sometimes I hear confessions of the things they wish they hadn’t done. Sometime we just sit in silence – waiting together.
It is the holiest job I have ever had or ever hope to have. Each time someone lets me wait with them I feel like I am on sacred ground.