I’ve never been much for waiting. Deep down, waiting feels like wasted time. If I am waiting, there is inefficiency somewhere. Someone isn’t doing their job right. Or I timed it poorly and I could have gotten more done before I arrived wherever I am. Even at a red light. Waiting is wasting time. Some potential is lost whenever I wait.
And here we are each year. Right before Christmas, during a month rigged to be busy and full, our church calendar tells us this. ‘It is a New Year. Now, wait.’
With all the work that needs to be done…. in my life, in our community, before Christmas. Why would I slow down much less wait?
This Advent I committed to turn myself toward waiting. My goal was to find a way to appreciate the ‘wait’ as much as the ‘do.’ Or, as my friend said "put a little Lent into your Advent." As I really embraced this effort, I began to see things. On a run, I stopped in the woods and there was an owl just six feet away. If anything could remind me that stopping rather than going is a gift from God, it is seeing an owl stare at me so close at hand. Without my Advent promise, I’d have run right past.
At the stop light, not rushing for green but relishing the yellow and red, I am seeing things I’ve driven by thousands of times. In line, rather than feeling impatient, I’m trying to let my heart fill with this moment. Breath in God’s grace.
Who knows what might happen when I stop. I might even encounter God.
This verse reminds me of Advent.
The seed is in the ground.
Now may we rest in hope
While darkness does its work.
(Wendell Berry’s A Timbered Choir)