On a recent trip to the library, our son selected Grandpa's Garden by Stella Fry from the shelf. The beautiful story follows Billy as he helps his grandpa tend his garden through the seasons of the year. We observe Grandpa explaining every step to Billy, and frequently hear Billy say, "And then we wait. It is hard to wait."
Billy is right. It is hard to wait. Whether waiting for our garden to grow, for healing, for news or for love, our waiting reminds us that there are some things (many things?) that we do not control. It is hard to wait. Yet, as Grandpa reminds Billy, "Good things take time." And Sheila Moxley's illustrations show all that is happening out of sight, within the earth, beneath their very feet as they wait.
Advent is a season of waiting. It is hard to wait. Yet, GOD things take time. Grandpa's Garden reminds me of a favorite Henri Nouwen quote about active, or attentive, waiting: “Most of us consider waiting as something very passive, a hopeless state determined by events totally out of our hands. ...But there is none of this passivity in Scripture.
Those who are waiting are waiting very actively. They know that what they are waiting for is growing from the ground on which they are standing. ...If we wait in the conviction that a seed has been planted and that something has already begun, it changes the way we wait. ...Something is happening where we are; ...we want to be present to it.
A waiting person is someone who is present to the moment, believing that this moment is the moment.” (Nouwen, Finding my Way Home) Waiting actively does not mean filling our schedules, chasing our to-do lists, or spending beyond our means. The idea is not to numb the difficulty of waiting -- it is hard to wait! -- but to be present to it.
Attentive waiting. Being present to the moment, this moment, with the conviction that something is happening right here, right now. God, in God's time, is coming among us.
We wait with joy, Amanda+