I’ve been thinking about crickets lately.
Not the black, six-legged, insect kind. The kind that show up when you pour out your heart to someone and get nothing in response.
They say silence is deafening, and sometimes, I think they are right. In this case, crickets are louder than cicadas on a humid August evening in Kansas.
Louder, and often more hurtful.
It doesn’t matter if we are communicating via text, email, phone call or even hand-written letter. When we share something important, we want a reply, and we want it now. We want the information, affirmation or confirmation we think our words warrant.
But when all we get is nothing, it’s easy to take it personally, isn’t it?
Someone very wise once told me that, when facing a lack of information, people tend to fill in the blanks with stories of their own—usually of the worst-case-scenario variety.
He was on to something, I think.
There’s always a slim chance that I actually have offended the person I am waiting on. Maybe I said the wrong thing and didn’t realize it. Maybe my carefully worded email rubbed my friend the wrong way. Maybe the last time I saw her, I looked at her funny and it hurt her feelings.
Most of the time, though, it’s nothing even remotely so nefarious.
I know this because for a long time, I was on the other end of the cricket spectrum.
For more years that I care to remember—starting some time after we uprooted ourselves from our comfortable life in Northwest Arkansas and moved back home to Kansas—I didn’t stay in touch much.
I often let emails from friends go unanswered for so long it was pointless to answer at all; the thought of writing back simply wore me out. I stayed away from Facebook and other forms of social media because I had no energy to craft any kind of written response about anything.
I just couldn’t do it.
This happened during those wilderness years I’ve written about here, here and here—that long season when changes in my life and body forced me to focus mostly on my family’s critical needs and put the rest on hold for a while.
Now that I’m on the other side of the wilderness, this blog has given me a chance to reconnect with some of those long-distance friends, and I couldn’t be happier about that.
But the main point of my cricket-spectrum story is this: There might be a good reason why you haven’t heard back from someone to whom you’ve poured out your heart.
While it’s possible the person you’re waiting on is just a big jerk, maybe she is still processing the information you gave her.
Maybe she is waiting on other information before she can give you an answer.
Maybe she doesn’t realize what a huge deal it was for you to share whatever it was that you told her.
Maybe your struggle seems small in relation to what she is facing right now, so she doesn’t think it metes much response.
Maybe she is busy, preoccupied or overwhelmed.
In other words, in all likelihood, her lack of a reply probably has nothing at all to do with you or her feelings about you.
There’s no way to know, of course. So rather than get all spun up while you’re waiting, you might want to try what I’m learning to do myself these days.
Give the person you’re waiting on one of the greatest non-material gifts anyone could ever receive—the benefit of the doubt.
Don’t default to thinking the worst—of someone else or of yourself. Focus on what you know to be true—what God says about you, your abilities and your position in His family—not on why the person you’re waiting on hasn’t responded yet.
And if you’re hoping for a specific outcome, pray for God’s will to be done, not yours. If there’s a better waiting-room strategy than that, I can’t think of it.
P.S. Linking up this week with Kelly Balarie at Purposeful Faith, Crystal Storms at Intentional Tuesday, Jennifer Dukes Lee at #TellHisStory, Holley Gerth at Coffee for Your Heart, Lyli Dunbar at ThoughtProvokingThursday, Crystal Twaddell at FreshMarketFriday and Dawn Klinge at Grace & Truth.