Waiting and arrivals

“Waiting patiently in expectation is the foundation of the spiritual life”
Simone Weil

boucicaut-meister
(Illuminated manuscript from the Book of Hours, the Annunciation 1410)

We have entered a new season within our faith…
Those seasonal cycles of the Church.
For we have now entered the season of waiting…
Otherwise known as Advent.
Taken from the Greek word, parousia, meaning arrival.

As in we are waiting for an arrival.

Yet do we not seem to spend our lives waiting?

Waiting on things to take place, to happen, to hurry up, to change, to come or to go….

However Father Henri Nouwen, in his essay Waiting For God, reminds us that
“for many people, waiting is an awful desert between where they are and where they want to go.
And people do not like such a place.
They want to get out of it by doing something.”

So waiting seems to be something we are relegated to suffer.

But Father Nouwen continues…
“Most of us think of waiting as something very passive, a hopeless state
determined by events totally out of our hands.”

“But there is none this passivity in scripture.
Those who are waiting are waiting very actively.”

“Active waiting means to be present fully to the moment, in the conviction
that somethings happening where you are and that you want to be present to it.
A waitng person is someone who is present to the moment, who believes that this moment is the moment.”

“A waiting person is a patient person.

The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and to live the situation
out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.
Impatient people are always expecting the real thing to happen somewhere else and
therefore want to go elsewhere.

“Waiting, then is not passive.”

“To wait open-endedly is an enormous attitude toward life.”

So, too, is giving up control over our future and letting God define our life, trusting that
God molds us according to God’s love and not according to our fear.
The spiritual life is a life in which we wait, actively present to the moment,
trusting that new things will happen to us,
new things that are far beyond our own imagination, fantasy, or prediction.

“That, indeed, is a very radical stance toward life in a world preoccupied with control.”

And so we begin to wait…
actively and radically waiting….

Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord.
See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth,
being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.
You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

James 5:7-8

(Father Henri Nouwen’s words taken from Watch for the Light
Readings for Advent and Christmas
/ Plough Publishing House

Learning on a broken ankle

“Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.”
―Abigail Adams

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(photo: Julie’s desk)

Well it’s now been just slightly over a week since the ill fated meeting between my leg and the drainage ditch. Each day has brought new insight–both good and bad…but that just may be in all how one choses to look at things….and I am finding I certainly need adjusting in my perspective as well as attitude….

First of all, a trip to the ER is very expensive as the first bill has arrived—but we won’t worry about that yet shall we….

Secondly— I have been touched and almost surprised by the kindness offered to me from various sales folks and individuals as they quickly notice my reason for wobbling. The checkout girl at Target (in the urban dictionary Tar-jay) immediately asked if she could help me to my car. Then the Publix checkout girl asked if she could help me to my car. Then the lady who runs the little feed and seed store where I was buying my heirloom tomato plants asked if she could help me by holding the plants as I picked them out and then offered helping me out to my car. Then there was the younger lady in a restaurant’s waiting area who got up and offered me her seat.
My defiant independence balks at such offerings– I always politely decline. However, I am touched none the less— but I’m finding I suddenly feel “old” …and maybe this is all about learning how to let folks help me.

Thirdly–my patience with myself is very limited. I grow very frustrated very quickly as I find I have taken so much “freedom” of mobility for granted. I am now, simply put, a weeble wobble–who possibly could fall down…again at any moment—living with a bit of fear…hummmm

Fourthly–it is amazing how quickly I moved about pre-cast and how laboriously slow I must now do simple things such as getting dressed. I ascend and descend stairs like a 5 year old little girl, taking one stair at a time. What took moments to scoot up and down, doubling stairs at a whim, is now anything but smooth. I’ve had to catch myself a couple of times from almost tripping as well as for gathering too much momentum going down—mustn’t tumble head over heels back down only to break something else….slow and steady goes the race… I was the rabbit, I am now the turtle.

fifthly (is that a word?)—things hurt as badly, if not worse, today on day 8 as they did on day 1. Plus the swelling remains….even after the suggestions of epsom salt and witch hazel. But I think this is in part due to the fact that I’ve not slowed down my daily pace as I probably should. I’m not sitting with the leg up as I suppose one should opting rather to stand and iron, or clean, or do what it is I do. Maybe what I think I do, which seems so important, simply is not….

Sixth–I am not a good patient for myself. I get very frustrated with myself. I’ve been in the depths of a yucky funk –ebbing and flowing out of a toxic mood. I know it’s due in part to not sleeping well, hurting, and my disdain for being still. I just can’t, in good conscience, allow myself time to just sit and do nothing–not unless I’m sitting on a beach somewhere in a chair under an umbrella–as long as the sun is shinning, there is just something that I must be doing. Being idol has never come easy to me. But I knew all of this would be an issue. “Be still and know that I am God…” maybe He’s trying to tell me something…..

Seventh–it’s only been 8 days —AGGGHHHHH!!!!!!! The aircast is like a 10 pound weight on one side of my body and one would think that after a while, the crutches would not be so difficult. And thank the Lord for my husband’s 20 year old four wheeler—my means of transportation in the yard and going to the mailbox—4 good wheels are now better than one good leg.

Eighthly-(bet you didn’t know that was a word)– as I have had my emotional ups and downs–spending much of Saturday in frustrated tears, I know there is so much I need to be grateful for. Oh how we take so much that we have for granted. I hope to be more keenly aware of others and their troubles. Everyone has troubles you know, it’s just that some people hide them better than others or mask them under all sorts of bravado.

Ninth—to learn patience. You know what they say about that…never pray for patience as God simply gives you more circumstance that requires such—oh my plate is full there, thank you very much, but I do want to have more patience for and with others…I want to be more kind. As I see different folks, say, at the grocery store—be kinder Julie, smile and speak, even if they are looking down… and don’t get so upset if they just leave their shopping cart in the parking lot rather than pushing it back where it belongs—just let them go and push it back for them…..who knows what’s on their minds…..

Tenth (ly) –To learn what really is important and what really matters…that is key. And to know that we all have to get up each new day and go about life–because none of us knows what the new day will hold……thank you for your patience with me 🙂