NO CRYING AT MY FUNERAL

NO CRYING AT MY FUNERAL

Monday, December 3, 2012

THE VALUE OF WAITING

Are you trying to say that waiting is not a waste of time?  Yes.  Watch.

1. "Time answers questions and removes uncertainty."
2. "Our willingness to wait reveals the level of value that we place on  
    what it is for which we wait."
3. "Good things come to those who wait."
The best thing that happens to those who wait is God Himself, per Isaiah: (64;4)

For since the beginning of the world
People have not heard nor perceived by the ear,
Nor has the eye seen any God besides You,

Who acts for the one who waits for Him.

We are in the time of Advent.  Advent is a short form of the future participle of the Latin word meaning "to arrive."  The interesting thing about this word is that when we use it in its full-blown form, we don't have the same negative feeling about it as we experience when we consider it in its shortened form.  Yet, the meaning is the same and the final results for us are generally positive in either case.  Since "Advent" is a religious term more than a secular one, let's start there.

Advent puts our North American patience [or lack thereof ] to the test.  We dislike waiting.  Waiting for us is a negative.  It is a waste of time.  We dislike it so strongly that we even spend big money buying and using devices that make us forget that we are waiting.  We are so averse to waiting that we even use our I-phones and other electronic devices while waiting at the restaurant table for the order to come.  We do this in front of our companions, even if they do not have an I-phone.  Rather than to enrich ourselves with the thoughts and opinions of our friends and relatives, we have recourse to texting or gaming or managing our contacts list, or...
Of course, we do the same thing during Advent.  Rather than to spend a moment enriching ourselves with the spiritual treasures that the season holds, we hide behind our impatience and our impulsive nature in an effort to forget the pain of waiting for the 25th of December to come and go. 
It is difficult to imagine that a culture so intent upon productive action can be so absorbed in non-productive, mindless escapism as we are.  We have forgotten the fundamental truth that there is more value in people watching than there is in composing a series of "Whassup, Dude" texts while waiting for the bus to arrive or for another friend to come out from the doctor's office. 
It is nearly impossible to rise above this morass of mindless activity in the search for internal fulfillment of some kind.  It is quasi impossible to reach out to an invisible but loving God in order to feel His loving warmth in our lives.  Even Advent doesn't make it happen because it gets pre-empted by Wal-Mart, et al.  It gets pre-empted because it is a "wait" not a search.  We know that Christ is coming, and that is fine, but it's the wait that is killing us.

May I therefore suggest that we turn to the long form of the word to see if there is some help to be found there.  We are looking for spiritual fulfillment and the appreciation of God's never ending flow of grace into our lives.  What we might as well do therefore, is to embark on a spiritual "ADVENTURE."  The meaning is related to "Advent."  It means that things are going to happen.  In most conversations it means that "I am going to go out and make something happen."  I will make reality come to me and I will make reality know that I too am on the way. Remember, I said that this is a future participle.  (You grammar nerds know that we don't have that verb form in the English language.)  
What  am proposing therefore is that we submerse ourselves not in "Advent" but in "Adventure."  We know that God is reaching out to us, so why not answer His reach by "adventuring" back towards Him?  If we do that we will find ourselves on Christmas Eve so fast we will wonder where the time went.  Dare I venture to say that we might even save a dollar or two in the process?  
There are some interesting ways to activate our minds and souls around the waiting period.  There is always the possibility that we decide to have a family Bible Prayer every day, at a convenient time, from now until the end of Christmastide.  There is the building of an Advent wreath with the four candles to decorate the Bible Prayer space.  If you Catholics aren't too familiar with the Bible, use the Bible Readings that are used in church on Sunday.  Go to a solid, trustworthy website like www.usccb.org or Parishworld.net or Universalis.com
It is also fun, believe it, to reach out and help someone who needs it.  Not necessarily a room in your house, for instance, but something simple like driving an old person to the doctor, watering the neighbor's plants while she is out of town, helping a family to clean the house or the yard, or...?  Here's one, volunteer for the food bank nearest you.  At this time of the year, they need all the help that they can get.  When you're at the supermarket and you bump into the person with the manager's name tag, ask if the company has a policy of donating goods to church food banks.  The manager won't give the donation directly to you, but take the information and send the leader of the food bank to see the store manager in a day or two and it shall be done.  Where I go to church there is a warm blanket drive every December aimed at making Winter time a little easier on the homeless.  

The point is, the spiritual life in the company of Jesus is Adventure.  It is His coming to us and our going to him.  This December moment is a time of High Adventure.  Get used to it now, and let it grow on you so that your whole life will take place side by side with Our God and the Angels and Saints who surround Him, and us.

If I die after you've made this spiritual effort, you will be required to refrain from crying at my funeral.

God bless you all with peace and joy.
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