Monday, November 30, 2009
Yesterday marked the beginning of Advent. A season of waiting, expectation, anticipation. I started my morning by reading the newest blog from my friend and woman extraordinaire, Julie Clawson. She writes, “As joy arrived and dwelt among us, we discovered that there is meaning in the waiting.” Ah, yes. I’m learning over and over that the lessons in life; the richness of life comes not when we reach our destination, but rather on our journey in getting there. I find myself in personal season of waiting. Waiting for a dream; waiting for yearnings fulfilled. I suspect I’m not alone in finding that waiting can be difficult. Our fast-paced, instant gratification culture does not encourage patience. Today I asked myself, “What am I gaining from this time of waiting?” If we’re paying attention, there are always lessons. Some of mine are new lessons; others gentle reminders. I’ve learned that I’m stronger than I sometimes give myself credit for. I’m learning about the incredible power of community and being loved. I am so richly blessed with amazing friends. Gratitude is transformational. This is not a new lesson for me, but I’m continually astounded at the magic this simple act creates. Perhaps the most beautiful and comforting reminder is the constant presence of God. This isn’t a new realization for me either. Nor is this an idealistic, Sunday School answer. I’m just amazed. The ever-present communion with the Almighty God is one of the few things that I believe in without waiver. The Creator of all living things, vast and small, became flesh and blood and dwelled among us. And God hasn’t left. Recently, I’ve been rethinking some ideas that I’ve held about prayer. The answer to a prayer isn’t necessarily the moment when the “thing” you’ve prayed for finally happens. Perhaps the answers come simply in the act of praying. I’m aware of the presence of God in the asking, the questioning, the crying, or the disappointment. At times, it seems as though God is more evident in the searching than in the finding. For this period of waiting for me, I find this to be true. And I’m grateful. If I only found God at the end of the road, I suspect I would rarely finish the journey. Esther De Wall writes in The Celtic Way of Prayer, “I shall not find Christ at the end of the journey unless he accompanies me along the way.” At a time when answers are allusive, there is still laughter, hope, and happiness. This is the mystery of God…happiness in the midst of sadness, a glimmer of hope among despair, a smile through the tears. Still…waiting is difficult. Even my firm belief in God does not interfere with my struggle. Today, I’m finding comfort in the journey and in the anticipation of miracles, both seen and unseen, that are being born in me. Welcome Advent.