Thursday, January 12, 2012

On Waiting

This past weekend we went to a book party for a priest friend who had his second book Living the Beatitudes:A Journey to Life in Christ   published last fall.  The party was hosted by another Catholic author.  And, after the cake was cut and people were sitting quietly, the host of the party began to speak.  He began to talk about how great this book is and how insightful so much of it is.  Then he began to share quotes from it.  And I felt as if he chose two of them for me:

"Waiting is the training ground of trust."


"Beauty is the crescendo of waiting"

Now, although we have this book and my husband has read it, I have not (sorry, Fr. B).  But that night, I sat with the book while my hubby and I sat down to attempt to watch a movie and I scoured the book for the above quotes.  Too shy to ask the host for the pages for these quotes, I skimmed page by page until I found them.  And after I found the first quote, I was confronted with line after line about waiting.  I read on.

You see, I am not very good at waiting.  I could blame our culture and its "gotta have it now" mentality, but I know I know better than that.  This is just a personal flaw of mine.  When I know God has me or my family on a path, I want to be at the end right away.  I do not want to wait for whatever it is to happen.  I want it to happen as quickly as possible.  The perfect example: the adoption process.  Once we realized that it was time to start the process, I was ready and too eager to get the process started, get the home study done, and bring home our next child.  Tomorrow would be nice.  But, the adoption process does not work that way.  God does not work that way.

For some reason I felt it coming during Advent.  I felt like it was a slowing down of all the processes that were going on, the things I wanted to have happen NOW.  But after hearing the words of Fr. J. Brian Bransfield, it hit me . . . It is a waiting.

"The one who truly hopes is not concerned about time." 

"Waiting is growth's second name"

"Beauty is the crescendo of waiting. Because it looks forward, waiting already begins to illumine trust.  Love matures in waiting's pause as a substantial bond is forged that opens ways into God of which we never dreamed.  As we wait for God, something is revealed about him that can never be revealed in any of our achievements."


Waiting

As I prayed more about waiting, I began to reflect on Simeon.  A great example of waiting with hope.  He, a holy man, filled with the Holy Spirit, was told, by that Spirit, that he would not see death until he saw the salvation of Israel.

He would see the long awaited Messiah.

I reread the scriptures.

I wonder, how long did he know that he would look upon Jesus before he actually did see Jesus?  A few months?  A couple years? 20 years?  Years of waiting.  Years of expectation to see God.  Waiting in hope.  Waiting on the promise.

But, what strikes me the most about Simeon is when he actually got to see Jesus.  Luke says he held Jesus.
Lord, now let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled;
my own eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared in the sight of every people;
a light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Isreal. Luke 2:28-32

Beautiful. Amazing.  I wonder how I would feel just to be in the presence of the baby Jesus.

But then the human side steps in . . .  Wait a minute. Simeon was waiting for the Salvation of the people of IsraelIn simple terms, that is BIG. But, he did not see Jesus perform miracles.  He did not hear Jesus preach.  He did not witness Jesus die on the cross and conquer death on the third day.

He saw Jesus.  A small baby.  Dependent upon Mary and Joseph. Yet, filled with the Holy Spirit Simeon SAW the Messiah in the tiny baby he held in his arms.

And, I wonder if I would have seen HIM in that tiny baby if I were there that day.

And I wonder about the others in the temple at that moment.  I picture it as being busy.  I am sure others heard Simeon's words.  What did they think? They, too, were hoping the Messiah would come.  But, I bet like me, so many missed the Babe because they were looking for something greater.  Looking, watching for God to MOVE.  Looking for God in the earthquake and the storm.  Instead, God came in the whisper.  He came as a little baby.

How often do I miss God in the small things because I am looking for Him in the big?

Simeon saw simply because he was called to wait.  His waiting opened his eyes to see God all around him.  So that when God-became man, he was attuned to the Spirt and saw.

" . . .  waiting can become a prayer, a secret door that was always there right in front of us, in an obvious place but overlooked for so long, that leads to God."

This is why God is calling me to wait right now.  Wait on Him to move, yes.  But more importantly, so I can wait on Him and allow my eyes to be opened to Him more fully, everyday, in the obvious. Encounter Him in the overlooked beauty of my daily life.

Thank you Fr. Brian, for your beautiful words and for allowing God to speak through you, to me and to so many others.

All unmarked quotations are from Living the Beatitudes:A Journey to Life In Christ by J. Brian Bransfield.

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