When Ready

Go ahead.
When you’re ready.

The friendly/businesslike/featureless voices renewing my magazine subscription, accepting my donation, and taking my order for a fresh turkey all come to this moment: the signal that they’re ready to record all the pertinent numbers from my credit card. If it were an in-person or even a video interaction I could see whether the time was now, whether now was the time. On the phone, I have to be told.

Go ahead.
When you’re ready.


The low-carb pancake lets the spatula slide easily under it: half under it. Nope, not ready for flipping.

The steak curls up a bit at one corner but then sticks. Nope, not ready for turning.

The scab shows white around the edges but holds fast in the centre. Nope, not ready for picking.

Sorry about that last image. A family failing.

I don’t suppose it’s exactly the same chemical change in batter, meat, and bodies that allows the pancake, steak, or scab to lift, to release, to let go when ready. But they’re alike in that there’s no shortcut.

Flip a pancake too early and you leave some on the griddle. Turn a steak too early and it’s not properly seared. Pick a scab before its time and there is unhealed wound underneath. Conversely, when they’re ready, they’re ready. The pancake flips perfectly, the steak turns juicily, the scab falls off in the night.

So it is with people. We learn a lesson, we adjust, we reconcile ourselves, we let go of prejudice or grievance or trauma or resentment or debilitating grief or anger or fears or excuses or, indeed, of life itself . . . when we’re ready and not a moment before. There’s no shortcut. There’s no being hurried along. It doesn’t help to check or be checked every 10 seconds, every few minutes, or every day, week, or month.

So, go ahead. When you’re ready.

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8 Responses to When Ready

  1. Tom Watson says:

    Do we always know when we’re “ready?” Or is it a case of continually seeking to be ready for whatever is coming, or whatever we will yet be?

  2. Jim Taylor says:

    I don’t know about steaks and pancakes, but scabs take longer to heal as I grow older. I suspect that’s true of emotional hurts too.

    Jim T

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim – Oh yes, scabs definitely take longer as we get older, as does all physical healing from what I hear. On the emotional side, I don’t know. It always feels like forever when we’re in it, doesn’t it?

  3. The Biblical phrase “in the fullness of time” suggests that, like the white sand in my grandmother’s hourglass used for timing boiled eggs, an appropriate building of minuscule events both given and received is necessary to the causation of larger and still larger events. Your message for the second Sunday in Advent renews hope that the “wars and rumours of wars” cannot delay the promised restorations and the healing of wounds. I think the scab example is entirely suitable, at least, in my family.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – I wonder what Bible we’d write, with our 24/7 news-cycle mentality and our expectation of responses (and resolutions?) that are immediate if not sooner? As a society we don’t seem to have much patience for wait-and-see or all-in-good-time.

  4. Jim Taylor says:

    Sorry, cannot resist responding. The Bible we have was put together by storytellers, who used those stories as their teaching tool. To see what historians would have done, read the duller parts of Kings and Chronicles. Or any of the begats. If the Bible were being written today, it would probably be taken over by the politicians (see your post on the Week that Was), or the economists (see https://www.businessinsider.com/modern-monetary-theory-mmt-explained-aoc-2019-3). Tragically, it would probably NOT be written by Fred Buechner or Ann Lamott.

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