Everyone who knew him knew Tony didn’t like to wait.
He could be seen pacing outside of a stockholder’s meeting waiting for feedback. Or he’d be seen outside of the board room waiting for a response on his budget. Whatever it was, he hated to wait.
But this was different. This wasn’t business. He was pacing in a doctor’s “waiting room.” And this time, the waiting went deeper inside. He was there because a test from his annual physical came back with “a concern.” They ran more tests and he was waiting to discuss them. The doctor said come by the office at 9 am. He was there, he was waiting. It was now … 9:10.
“Will this take much longer?” he said nervously to the receptionist. “Does he know I’m waiting?”
Gail, the receptionist sensing his unsettled state, said, “The doctor will be with you in 10 minutes.”
He sat down. He thumbed through a magazine. He watched some of the morning news show on the TV. He felt like he was going insane. The thought of a “concern” rattled him. He’d always been in the best health. Always tried to watch what he ate. But talk of a spot on his chest x-ray really worried him.
Almost in a panic, he rushed to the reception desk, raising his voice slightly, “When will he see me?”
“I told you in 10 minutes”, Gail said calmly.
“But that was an eternity ago”, Tony protested.
“No, it was 5 minutes ago”, Gail insisted.
“Well, it sure felt like an eternity to me”, he conceded.
Gail responded, “Sir, but that’s the point. That’s how is felt” adding an inflection on the last word. “Thing is, eternity is an actual time frame. It’s forever. And the truth is, it would be terrible to have to wait for anything forever.”
“I’m just so worried about what the results might be”, he admitted.
“Exactly, might be”, she replied quickly. “You’re creating turmoil and anxiety inside yourself about something that is a might be. And further driving yourself crazy by convincing yourself that you’re waiting not an hour or many hours but … an eternity.”
Gail continued, “When I think of eternity, I think of spending it with my friends and loved ones who’ve gone before me. I think about being in the presence of the Lord always. That is a better way to view eternity. I would hate to spend eternity … waiting! That speaks of something unfulfilled or unfinished. Eternity is about never having to wait again, for anything.”
“That does sound very nice” Tony responded. “But you really believe that’s what awaits us?”
“It can” Gail said quickly.
“Oh, you mean some people get eternal life and some don’t, right?” Tony asked.
“No, everyone gets eternal life” Gail replied. “You were created by God to live forever. Eternity is your destiny.”
Tony leaned into the reception window and asked, “So I can do whatever I want, make whatever choices I desire, and I get to spend eternity in heaven?”
“No, I didn’t say that”, Gail corrected him quickly. “All of us were created as eternal beings. We all are going to live forever. IF you live forever is not the question. WHERE you live forever is. And that’s up to you!”
Tony thought about her words and wanted to talk more but just then the doctor came out of his office with a folder in his hands.
“Good news Tony” he proclaimed. “The spot was just a minor infection that we can clear up with antibiotics. You’re fine, nothing to worry about. Just make an appointment for a follow-up and … you have a nice day.” The doctor then returned to his office.
Tony visibly relaxed. He turned to the reception desk and looked at her desk clock … it was 9:15. “Guess I didn’t have to wait too long huh?”
“Definitely not an eternity” Gail said as she smiled. “So, when would you like to schedule your follow-up?”
“How about next week?” Tony asked.
“Next week?” Gail responded. “Why so soon?”
Tony grinned at her and said, “No sense in putting it off. And besides, I’d like to continue our talk. And I don’t want to wait an eternity to do it!”
Gail smiled and said, “Next Tuesday at 10:30 then. And I look forward to continuing our talk as well.”
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