Waiting…it seems that we spend an awful lot of time doing it, don’t we?
If you experience what I do then you too feel the weight of waiting that is imposed on us from the outside by external forces of various kinds.
I have to wait for the sun to rise
I have to wait for the coffee to brew.
I have to wait to read those magic words, hear that lilting quick voice.
I have to wait for pending actions that deeply affect my future.
I have to wait for the bus.
I have to wait for the doctor.
I have to wait for word from the four corners of my heart.
And then there are other kinds of waiting:
I have to wait for transition to show the outsides what’s inside.
I have to wait as others process my life transitions in their own terms.
I have to wait for the words to come, from my muse and her well.
I have to wait for answers to various correspondences.
I have to wait for almost everyone else, for I move at a pace different.
Waiting is an activity that is seemingly aimless…
and when viewed in light of time,
waiting is a doing.
Generally we feel a sense of something we call “restlessness”…
expressed by pacing back and forth, drumming our fingers, bobbing our knee up and down,
sighing heavily or groaning to release frustration as time drags its feet
…and seemingly mocks us by slowing down even further.
Or…we might simply languish and wallow in something we call “listlessness”, that slouching, slack-jawed, mind-numbed escape from doing which is, in and of itself a doing…as inertia takes us over, drags at all our metabolisms and slows things down even further…and then time becomes a marathoner…
…and we are in lockstep with time, we the unwilling competitor, our leg tied to time’s in a three-legged race being dragged to…where? Another spate of waiting?
Sadly, this doing (as all doings do) ends up as a becoming (as all people end up too)…
…a becoming anxious, or cynical, or harried and indifferent, or discouraged and despairing.
All too often we are blinded to the simple blazing truth:
Becoming is always the result of time passing,
and there is no choice about this, becoming…
but rather only the choice of what it is we will become.
And it is in this choice, what it is that we will become, that we discover:
there is another way, another point of view from which to understand “waiting”…
…and it is from that place that we fully grasp the way in which waiting becomes a state of being, an intentioned choice of the heart and spirit, rather than the doing I mentioned earlier.
It is in this intentional, chosen state that we find things like patience, discipline, self-control and emotional maturity answer the call like warriors answer the summon of their sovereign.
For patience is a state of being as well, yes? (Impatience is just “doing’s” word that describes chafing against time’s leg as we are dragged along, gimpy in that awkward infernal race to nowhere). Discipline is also a state of being, along with self-control, emotional maturity…all of these qualities are fruits that grow from the root of the choice of intentionality to wait.
There is an assumption that underlays the choice to be “waiting”. It is the assumption that our choices have consequences of becoming…and those consequences manifest in process as a function of time passing. And this assumption has its own treasures to give us in the moment, treasures that inform our choice, empower our choice, and then become an actual living part of our choice.
Those qualities are enduring and never fail, and ultimately they triumph over all the activity of doing for the sake of the expediency of the moment. They are the antithesis of busy-work and the resulting chaos surrounding frantic activity in the name of “doing something”. They are the good hard work of intentional being.
Advent is a season that comes each year, and it opens its heart to us, to the exhortation there, it whispers to us…each year…
and as that insistent cry emanates forth it carries upon its wings great gifts of stillness, reflection…honest longing in the dark with true vital hope of longing fulfilled, joy in the anticipation of immanent manifestation of what is, but hidden…emerging from what conceals and is seen…just like a wrapped gift (and ponder for a moment that metaphor of a wrapped gift…yes?)…which finds its true purpose in the unwrapping as much as in the preparation and gifting of it.
Advent imbues anticipation! Advent focuses time and puts it to work stoking the fires of faith, hope, joy, love as we sense the arrival of that miracle our hearts all know lurks just outside this skein of time, practicing its own waiting for the miracle moment of emergence, of catalytic manifestation and the redemption of yet another investment of waiting.
So how about it Constance? This Advent season, this time of preparation…will you receive the precious gift of waiting, with Her mighty warriors of being? Or will you hide yourself in busy-ness, rushing around, and re-wrapping a gift given in your own papers of cynicism and ribbons of refusal…and end up fed up and waiting anyway, just waiting for Christmas to be over, instead of for Christmas to come?
Remember: Divine Silence is not Divine Inactivity and Indifference!
A miracle is upon us…it is every year (in fact, it is everyday).
And thus we are gifted with great opportunity to wait for the Christ who comes each year in the same way and in brand new ways unexpected and greatly needed, and the Christ comes to be the Answer to our heart, not to do the things we think we need done.
But to see Him, to catch a glimpse of Him as He comes…ahh, that vision comes to those who wait…
wait on the Lord oh my soul, be strong and let your heart take courage, for they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength! They shall rise up on wings, like eagles, and shall run and not grow weary and then walk and not faint! And they shall see the goodness of God in the land of the living.