Recognizing that I am dating myself in saying this, but there was a time when I had to wait a whole week for the next episode of my favorite television show. And unless I recorded it on my VCR (look it up Gen Z and Alpha), I had to scan the 7×10″ TV Guide (look that up too), hoping for a second chance with a rerun.

These days, we can watch a whole series in a matter of hours, available with the simple pressing of a button or the sound of our voice.

Many of those who share my lived experience of this not so recent history would also recall tape recording songs off the radio on our cassette players before CD’s and eventually MP3s made life a whole lot easier. I wonder what young Jimmy would think about playing songs and streaming videos on his portable phone (I did have a beeper in high school that scrolled sports scores which made me feel like a real hot shot).

Fast forward to 2022, and all of a sudden I, along with millions of others, are waiting a whole day to play the next version of a word game with a silly title and intriguing colored tiles.

And isn’t it refreshing?

We don’t have to wait for much when it comes to  available entertainment on our devices. It sure can feel like we hold the world in our hand, accompanied by a small dose of false sense of control, as we navigate our apps, calendars, and messages.

Yet, with Wordle- advertised as a daily word game- we take our turn and wait for the sun to set and rise again.

Waiting requires patience, teaching us to appreciate the present while trusting we can face any future challenge (much like an unexpected  Wordle answer with the letter X).  We learn that when life’s situations are a whole lot more serious than a word game, perhaps waiting has something to teach us- ponder that when you wish there was another puzzle to solve.

A daily dose of patience is not a bad thing- especially knowing we do not wait in bated breath alone.

As I pour my second cup of coffee each morning, my ritual now expands with a few minutes of guessing letters and pressing my luck as I hide in the kitchen from my young children who at any moment will request a snack, drink, or out of reach toy. 

I look forward to reporting my success (or failures) with my friend  network and while I imagine this too shall past, I am resting in this carved out time of virtual communion.

I find myself grateful for the connections to long lost and familiar friends, despite their “other” social media posts on vaccinations or allegiance to sports teams.

For example, I appreciated how there was a collective “really?” when “SHIRE” solved the puzzle this past Monday. I am excited when soon-to-be-“friends” comment on another’s puzzle, asking “what is this?”  and I am equally excited when I direct  others to the Wordle website (not yet an app and free of any cost or personal information), knowing they are about to find a few minutes of daily joy.

Another difficult year concluded, but this new year has granted us a  gift- a virtual game that hooked us, not with instant gratification and division, but with the right amount of patience and a re-energized virtual friendship. Wordle is truly worth waiting for!


Dr. Jimmy Walters

James R. Walters, Ed.D., is a lay leader, scholar, researcher, author, presenter, and teacher in spirituality and ministry. He is the Director of the Catholic Scholars program, as well as the Director of Residence Ministry at St. John’s University. Walters is also faculty in the Graduate School of Education and the Institute for Core Studies. He also works with the Diocese of Brooklyn in youth ministry and faith formation.

Recommended Articles