As Advent approaches, so do our focuses on certain themes for this liturgical season – specifically waiting for the birth of Christ to bring us a new light into our lives.
Yet we rarely see waiting as a gift. As she participated in jury duty, Michelle at Quantum Theology states this:
“There was a lot of waiting for a trial scheduled to start today. We got oriented. We filled out another form or two. We got an hour break. We came back. We waited for 45 minutes and then got a 2 hour lunch break. At 2:30 they warned us the cafeteria was closing, in case you wanted another snack. There was more waiting. Then we were thanked and sent on our way.”
In many ways, Advent patience helps one to see the waiting that occurs during jury duty in a new light. We are given the blessing of waiting. How will we spend this time? Will it be a constructive time of study and reflecting? Some fill their hours of jury duty with planned and enriching activities.
Advent gives us the opportunity to embrace patience with our authentic selves and to celebrate the Imago Dei within us – especially when our bodies do not cooperate. Even with a body that has scars and weaknesses, Kathy Randall affirms where she is now with loving herself:
“Sometimes I need the reminder to live into my body as it is. Whatever it is doing at the moment. It does work. I need to thank it for the work it does.
“Sometimes my body is asking to be loved as it is. Just like this. She whispers gently, as if she isn’t sure she’s allowed to ask for things for herself. ‘Just like this, please. For now. Before we begin the checklist. Start with love.’”
During Advent, we experience the longest night of the year and, quite often, the longest nights of our souls. We wait for the sun to rise and the night to lift.
In conversation with the book Swallowed Up, Beth Scibienski reflects on the death of her husband. She notes in her post Staying Alive:
“Life is love. And loving after loss feels uncomfortable and awkward. Loving after loss feels a little like faking it and a lot like making hard choices. Loving, or just plain facing the day after loss feels a lot harder than I ever thought it would.”
Sometimes Advents presents us more questions than answers. Margaret Blackie wrestles with the idea of “living the questions” saying “it pushes me far beyond any comfort zone I have ever known, and yet, and yet, there is deep invitation.” She concludes her post with this quote by Rilke:
“‘Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue.’ – Rilke”
May we each find patience this Advent. May we be patient with our slowing bodies. May we be patient with our weeping hearts. May we be patients as the nights are long and the questions heavy.
The Rev. Michelle L. Torigian is the Senior Pastor of St. Paul United Church of Christ, Belleville, Illinois. Her essay “Always a Pastor, Never the Bride” was in the RevGalBlogPals book There’s a Woman in the Pulpit. She also has chapters in the books Sacred Habits: The Rise of the Creative Clergy and A Child Laughs: Prayers for Justice and Hope. Torigian blogs at http://www.michelletorigian.com.
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