Waiting

by jknox on July 23, 2013

It’s a rule of blogging (so I’m told) that you shouldn’t begin every post with an apology for not having written lately and a promise to do better in the future. Well, I haven’t begun every post that way, so I guess it’s ok to open this post by saying I’m sorry for neglecting this blog for so long and I hope to keeping it updated more regularly (not a lofty goal!). For starters, I’d like to share this quote from Henri Nouwen that has been helpful to me in recent months. I hope it is helpful to you as well.

Waiting is open-ended. Open-ended waiting is hard for us because we tend to wait for something very concrete, for something that we wish to have. Much of our waiting is filled with wishes: “I wish that the weather would be better. I wish that the pain would go.” For this reason, a lot of our waiting is not open-ended. Instead, our waiting is a way of controlling the future. We want the future to go in a very specific direction, and if this does not happen we are disappointed and can even slip into despair.

To wait open-endedly is an enormously radical attitude toward life. So is to trust that something will happen to us that is far beyond our own imaginings. 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.

But Zechariah, Elizabeth, and Mary were not filled with wishes. They were filled with hope. Hope is something very different. Hope is trusting that something will be fulfilled, but fulfilled according to the promises and not just according to our wishes. Therefore, hope is always open-ended.

Here is a link to the entire article, A Spirituality of Waiting.

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