Tag Archives: Waiting

The Fine Art of Embracing

Our nest is now empty. I know in an earlier blog I wrote about not calling it empty. I wrote bravely about calling it a wider nest that stretches practically all over Texas. But, right now, I’d like to retract that thought because the reality is, it is empty here.

We have three empty bedrooms…all still and quiet. Our laundry has decreased by 97% and I’m not even enjoying that. Our clocks tick more loudly…it’s weird.  At the grocery store, I nearly melted because I wasn’t buying the same things without a 19-year-old son eating here.

No one is waking me up in the middle of the night to tell me he’s home. His bed stays made. His room is sunny because I opened his black out curtains. It used to bug me that he left the shower curtain open all the time. It’s shut now 24/7, I should be gleeful.

He’s currently going through a rigorous ten-day tough boot camp environment preparing to be a part of the Corps of Cadets and Aggie Band at Texas A&M. My dad, his dad, his brother-in-law, brother and cousin all did the same thing before him. We all believe the Corps makes great leaders and we all know how hard it is.

We talked to our son a few days ago and he said it was harder than he thought it would be but that a text from his big brother had  helped him. I asked what the text said and he said essentially, “…to embrace the misery.” (Ok, it really said “Embrace the Suck” but I felt the need to make it sound better for my faith-based blog). Either way you get the idea. “Embrace the suck” seems somehow more aptly put and can really stick with you as a slogan.  As I was writing this, I realized there’s even a book with that title and hoodies you can get. Who knew?

Later, our older son explained his big brother text to me, “In short, it means you can’t think about all the things you could be doing; that will make you miserable. You are in a time where you’re going to be tired, stressed and getting yelled at. Embrace it and believe it’s going to make you better.  Be where your feet are.”

Sometimes I find it difficult to embrace where I am. That has been true in times of illness and recovery. It has certainly been true in seasons of grief. Sometimes I rail against a season of busyness or times where it seems my husband and I are working too hard or giving too much to everyone besides ourselves.

Sometimes it is when we need to make a decision but no clarity comes. I hate times of indecision, not knowing or waiting, don’t you?

Sometimes it is true in a season of emptiness, when the clocks are ticking too loudly and there is no laundry to do.

Could it be that there really is an art to embracing the place where our feet are right now? I wonder where you are and what needs your embrace?

 

 

 

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That Silent Saturday

In Christianity, there’s not really even a name for that Saturday. No one seems to know what to do with the day in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It is such an awful, awkward, painful day.

I’ve heard it called Holy Saturday, but not much. Even the Bible doesn’t have much to say about that day. Matthew’s gospel has Pilate demanding that the tomb be sealed and guards watch it around the clock, just in case someone tries to steal the body. All the other gospels are silent on the topic.

The torture of the agony of Friday ending in death’s finality. The tears, the earthquake, the ripping of the heavens, life over as they knew it. Hopes and dreams crushed. And, then, can you imagine? Saturday happens and it is just silent. God is silent. Time, I imagine, agonizingly slow. There are no answers, no revelations, no angels. Just nothing.

What I want to say today is this, don’t gloss over that horrible Saturday while you are getting ready for Easter. Don’t use it as only a day of gathering Easter supplies and food for tomorrow. Don’t just use it to pull together your Easter fashion ensemble.

Stay in it. Pray through it. Try to feel it because the Silent Saturday is as much a part of the Christian faith as all our other milestone days. In fact, I believe most of our Christian life is lived in the silent, awkward Saturday seasons.

Like when death has been pronounced and the body taken away; or when the divorce papers are signed and submitted; when the diagnosis comes and you have no clue how it will unfold. Hospital waiting room moments or right after you hear them say that you are no longer employed. Our faith lives are full of silent Saturdays.

What we do in the silent, painful, awful moments of life is as important as what we do on Easter.  Actually, maybe how we handle Saturday matters more than how we do when the angel assures us that “He is not here. He has risen just as he said” Matthew 28:6

This awkward, awful, no name, no information Saturday has something to teach us about life and faith. Stay in it and learn.

Barely There

Themes for me this year: Removing clutter in order to focus. Going small to be able to see. Downsizing schedule and scope to allow more spiritual space. Having a tiny Christmas.

In the quiet space of this morning, I remembered an infant’s touch. Isn’t it amazing how from the minute a baby is born they know how to touch?  I remember as I was parenting my three children marveling at how physical parenting was. All that constant touching, holding and changing of clothes and diapers; all that drool and contact. You can’t get away from it. You can’t stay clean. You just allow yourself to be one with the child and all that comes with them.

The touch of a newborn…the way the baby wraps a tiny hand around your finger.  The baby can’t hold you there, you are stronger. You can barely even feel it really. It’s this gentle, soft, subtle phenomenon.

It reminds me of some other things. Like being outside when the sun comes out on a gray day and you hardly notice it at first and then you feel something a tad bit warmer on your face. You look up. It’s light. Stars do that. They don’t seem to be there as the dusk heads into darkness. Then, there they are, one after the other; age-old beacons of light and hope.

God went tiny, gentle, subtle, small and star-like for us. When God wanted to grasp our hearts and souls, God touched us like an infant does. That’s it.

Our world is so big, loud, scary and just overblown. Every day, assorted media reports sadden, anger and terrify me. My own life and vivid imaginings do too. Sometimes my heart cries out wondering where God is in all of it.

And then, in a way I can sometimes hardly perceive, the brush of angel wings, the warmth of light and this tiny sweet infant touch, holding me.

The quieter I am, the more I see. When I am still, listening, waiting and open, I feel God’s gentle hold on me. I pray it for you, too, this Christmas; that somewhere in the noise and activity; the much-ness of it all, that you will stop, breathe and feel the newborn hand, barely there, holding you.

Just Wait

Every year, I have the same lament.  I almost didn’t say anything this year, but now I’m even being affected by the situation.  It is still a few days before Thanksgiving.  I have not made our family’s Thanksgiving foods yet.  My porch has pumpkins on it. Inside my house there are turkeys and signs reminding me to be “thankful in all things.”  And guess what?  I feel behind.

I’m behind because there are no Christmas lights on our house like all our neighbors seems to have; there are no red and green wreaths on our door. I feel behind because our Christmas stuff is still in the attic. There’s even a word for it now, “Christmas Creep.” I will not even speak of the stores having Christmas before Halloween complete with Christmas music.

I think I’m catching it. In my stress and hurry to get it all done, I wondered aloud, in front of our 17 year old son, if we should decorate for Christmas before we left for Thanksgiving. He actually grabbed my shoulders and shook me, saying, “Who are you and what have they done with my mother?”

He saved me.  He woke me up. So I’m going to say it once again to myself and whoever will listen. Just wait.

I love the book Margin by Dr. Richard Swenson.  He writes about how we have allowed our lives to become margin-less: in our time, in our money, in our overload.  He doesn’t write about Christmas but I believe we have also destroyed the margin between seasons.  If society had it’s way, baby Jesus would be born in early October and off to college by January. Stop. Just wait.

Can we not just be pregnant for awhile?  There is a reason for gestation. Good things need time to grow. We are supposed to wait for the seed of new life to grow and be big enough and developed enough to be born healthy.

In the church, we do plenty of things wrong, but one thing we get sort of right is the waiting.  This coming Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent.  We don’t call it Christmas because the baby has not been born.  We wait. We watch.  We will light just one candle. I know, it is a ridiculously simple decoration.  One blue candle? Yes.  We will read scripture about God doing a new thing. We are going to watch, wait and see what might grow.  It’s okay to just be pregnant.