Yesterday, I rolled up the 100-light illuminated garland looped over the loft railing and put away the rest of the Christmas decorations. Hand towels printed with scenes of snowmen, jingle bells, and reindeer will get laundered today then stored. Only the poinsettia in a corner of the great room will remain from the holiday.
Amid today’s soaking rain and fog, I wait.
Waiting is counter to my nature. I’d rather barrel into the day and check things off my to-do list as fast as possible. I love lists, especially checking things off, but I don’t like to wait. I’ve never put that on my to-do list. How would I know when to check it off?
Yet waiting can accomplish more than everything on my checklist put together.
Waiting might look passive but often is not. It’s listening rather than speaking, watching to see how a situation plays out rather than jumping in to fix it, staying calm rather than running around, crying in fear. Waiting is also active contemplation, “a vast opening to inner experience,” as Richard Rohr said in this morning’s reflection. And when outer spiritual authorities merge with inner experience, something divine can happen.
Epiphany: the day (January 6th), the season (the 6th until the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday), the state—an illuminating discovery.
The day has passed; we are in the season; and I’m waiting for the state, a Divine self-revelation, quiet, loving, and hopeful.
but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength… (Isaiah 40:31)
I began the year with one resolution: Thy Will Be Done. Every morning, I write that mantra at the top of the page in my journal. Below I transcribe a Bible verse and maybe quote from traditional experts, outer authorities. Then I scribble my thoughts, my messy-self’s inner reflections.
Starting today, I will write, “wait,” at the top of my checklist. Instead of “journaling,” I’m going to call that line item “waiting.” And when I look at the other items on the list, I’ll ask, “Wait, to what purpose?”
Then I’ll picture the red poinsettia, a reminder of Christmas, and remember the soaking rain, a promise of renewal.