Week of December 13, 2015
Here is an Advent reflection on “open-ended” waiting from one of my favorite authors Henri Nouwen. I hope you enjoy it as part of your Advent journey:
Open-ended waiting is hard because we tend to wait for something that we wish to have, but we do not know if or when we will have it! It is not concrete. Much of our waiting is filled with wishes: “I wish that I had a job.” “I wish the weather were better.” “I wish the pain would go away.” We are full of wishes, and our waiting easily gets entangled in those wishes. 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… One of the reasons we have a hard time waiting is that we want to do things that will make the desired events take place and thus satisfy our wishes. Here we realize how our wishes tend to be connected to our fears, and fear, of course, prevents us from allowing time in our lives for open-ended waiting. For this reason, a lot of our waiting is not open-ended. Instead, our waiting is a way of controlling the future…
I have found it very important in my own life to try to let go of my wishes and instead live in hope. I am finding that when I choose to let go of my sometimes petty and superficial wishes and trust that my life is precious and meaningful in the eyes of God something really new, something beyond my own expectations begins to happen to me. To wait with openness and trust is an enormously radical attitude toward life. It is choosing to hope that something is happening for us that is far beyond our own imaginings. It is giving up control over our future and letting God define my life. It is living with the conviction that God molds us in love, holds us in tenderness, and moves us away from the sources of our fear. Our spiritual life is a life in which we wait, actively present to the moment, expecting that new things will happen to us…this indeed is a radical stance toward life in a world preoccupied with control. “Jesus, help me to be ready for how your presence will change us.” (Henri Nouwen)
May your Advent in preparation for Christmas be a time of peace and hopeful, open-ended waiting!
Fr. LeRoy Scheierl