Pomegranates by Chanan Mazal

Pomegranates by Chanan Mazal

Saturday, 10 December 2016

The Room With The Blue Slippers

To Wait
to not do something until something else happens

This definition in the Webster’s on-line dictionary made me smile.   The dictionary is usually not so vague, but in this case it fits perfectly.

The truth is, waiting involves entering in the realm of the vague, the unknown and territory beyond our control.

A couple of years ago my husband and I spent several hours in the hospital waiting room.  I named it "the room with the blue slippers."  Sounds romantic doesn't it?
It is the place where patients with blue slippers wait for the physician to take them in for their procedures.  On this particular day they were running about an hour or so behind schedule so we remained in the crammed room with all of the other waiting blue slippers.

After they took my husband in I sat reading and watching repeat news reels on the television screen above as I waited for another couple of hours.  Finally my magic number popped up on the hospital information board so I eagerly headed to the nurses desk.
I was anxious to see Ken so I followed the nurse down a maze of hallways.  At the end of the maze instead of delivering me to my husband I realized they had simply transferred me to yet another waiting room!  

Life is full of waiting.  It can’t be avoided. 

Waiting can be for a joyous occasion or a momentary inconvenience as we line up at the gas pumps when the price of oil drops.  However, in other seasons waiting can be torment where the end appears to be nowhere in sight as life hangs in the balance.

Advent is one of those precious seasons of waiting and anticipation where the outcome is absolutely life changing.

Henri Nouwen, a beloved priest and writer describes advent as...

“the time when we practice the discipline of waiting.

We focus our attention on the hope to come.

We set our hearts on God's not-yet-seen promises rather than our unfulfilling circumstances in the present.

We join the saints who even now are crying “How long?” before God’s throne (Rev 6:10), longing for the world to be put to right. We take the long view, keep our eyes on the big picture, and walk on.”

As I spent that day in the "room with the blue slippers" I realized I still have a long way to go when it comes to the spiritual discipline of waiting.

This spiritual practice has been especially difficult when I am waiting for God to act on behalf of those I love who are hurting, grieving or struggling with illness.  

I also acknowledge that patience and trust have not been my forte when it pertains to waiting for the fulfillment of the desires of the heart.  Rather than resting fully in the hope of Christ -  I gravitate toward the false belief that my life is on hold.

Have you ever felt like you were waiting for the answer to prayer or circumstances to change in order to begin to enjoy life?

If we are not careful waiting can deceive us into thinking we are stuck, that things will never change and there is no way out.  This can lead us quickly down a path void of hope and straight into the pit of resentment.

I think Nouwen would disagree with Webster’s definition.  He advocates that waiting is not a passive season, but rather quite the opposite...
“A waiting person is a patient person. The word “patience” means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us. Impatient people are always expecting the real thing to happen somewhere else and therefore want to go elsewhere. The moment is empty.  But, patient people dare to stay where they are.  Patient living means to live actively in the present and wait there.  Waiting, then, is not passive.  It involves nurturing the moment."

The next time we find ourselves in the midst of a blue slipper season of waiting let's 

Turn toward God

Embrace the moment

Let go of the urge to escape or remain in control  

May we fully surrender to Emmanuel instead of the fear

Dare to stay right where we are and enjoy life while we wait

Advent whispers to you and me...

Hope is on the way

 Jesus is coming.

For there is still a vision for the appointed time;
it speaks of the end, and does not lie.
If it seems to tarry, wait for it;
it will surely come, it will not delay.

 Habakkuk 2:3-4

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