Thursday, April 5, 2012

PGP - Waiting for Godot - or how NOT to wait

Waiting for Godot is a two-act play by Samuel Beckett. It's a somewhat bizarre little play, with two main characters and three supporting character. Estragon and Vladimir are waiting at an assigned spot for Godot, who never arrives, but sends messengers to tell them he'll come tomorrow. The next day they receive another messenger, saying he'll come tomorrow. They don't know who Godot is, or why they're waiting for him, and spend the time talking nonsense, entertaining a passerby, or debating whether or not to hang themselves from the tree that is often the only prop on the stage.

I read this play in high school, and to this day if I'm waiting for something that doesn't seem like it will EVER arrive, I call it "waiting for Godot."

It's an odd little play, with odd little lines.

Estragon: Nothing to be done.
Vladimir:  I'm beginning to come round to that opinion. All my life I've tried to put it from me, saying Vladimir, be reasonable, you haven't yet tried everything. And I resumed the struggle. So there you are again.
Estragon: Am I?

How often in our lives do we find ourselves in a holding pattern, doing the same things day in and day out with no end in sight, no distraction, and only a vague "maybe it will be better someday" to keep us going forward?

I see Waiting for Godot as both a lesson in patience and a lesson in how NOT to wait. Estragon and Vladimir come to the tree every day, waiting for Godot - and the days blend into each other so seamlessly that they're not sure how long they've been waiting, or when Godot said he'd come - only that they need to be there, waiting. And sure, that's a lesson in endless patience, but surely that time could be used more productively. 

As a military wife, I've had ample time to learn patience. When my husband was deployed to Afghanistan, I could have moped around the house and let the days run together until he got home - but there are far more productive things to do. I worked. I went back to school. I meditated and prayed. I spent time with friends and family. And you know what? The time went by far quicker than it would have otherwise.

I think we get so caught up in the waiting sometimes that we forget how much TIME we are spending obsessing about the thing we are waiting for. 

Maybe that's one reason why I dislike the Christian god, or more aptly, the idea of a Rapture or End of the World or whatever. Why spend my time waiting for something that might come, or might not, and even if it is a sure thing that it WILL come, who knows WHEN it will come? I have far better things to be doing than preparing for a hypothetical. It's one thing to prepare for the future; it's another thing to prepare and wait for a future that may never come, and that is out of my control. I'd rather make plans and goals for myself, and live in the moment when I can, even when it's hard to do so.

What tricks do you have for living in the moment? Do you worry too much about the future? Is there something big that you're patiently waiting for?

Vladimir: Let us not waste our time in idle discourse! (Pause. Vehemently.) Let us do something, while we have the chance! It is not every day that we are needed. Not indeed that we personally are needed. Others would meet the case equally well, if not better. To all mankind they were addressed, those cries for help still ringing in our ears! But at this place, at this moment of time, all mankind is us, whether we like it or not. Let us make the most of it, before it is too late! Let us represent worthily for once the foul brood to which a cruel fate consigned us! What do you say? (Estragon says nothing.)

1 comment:

  1. I am patiently waiting for my kids to grow up and move out! Hahahaha According to my youngest I am also waiting for Godot as he is planning to live with me forever. He is too cute and was 7 years old before I convinced him he couldn't marry me. SO now he is determined to just live with me forever even after he gets married. I told him that thought process takes his chances of getting married to next to none! Hahaha.