Magazine article The American Organist

From the Chaplain

Magazine article The American Organist

From the Chaplain

Article excerpt

Waiting as Blessing

WHEN I was a child, my least favorite season was Advent, the season before Christmas. Why? A simple answer: Advent means waiting, and if there is anything that most children cannot do gracefully, it is wait. Why would any child want to wait for gifts? Let's have them right now!

Of course, we adults are not good at waiting either. Have you ever stood in the express lane at a grocery store where a sign reads "12 items," and someone whose cart is packed to overflowing is in front of you? Have you stopped at a gasoline station, and the person in the car in front of you cannot find their credit card or figure out how to operate the pump? Have you heard the public announcer in an airport say that your flight has been delayed and they will "keep you posted" about when the flight will board? Have you gone to the doctor's office with great pain and the receptionist has said, "Wait until we call you." Have you taken out your iPhone eager to get your text messages, only to see the little circle going round and round searching for a connection?

The simple fact is this: to live is to wait. Do you want a child to be born? It will take nine months after conception. Do you want vegetables from your garden? The seeds will produce fruit after the time programmed in their genes. Do you want to master all of the major Bach organ works? It will take years of studying and working on the fingerings, the registrations, the way you hear the multiple voices sounding against each other and coming together.

You must wait. Not a passive waiting but an anticipatory waiting, a waiting during which you do all that you can do - eating the right way when you are pregnant, weeding and fertilizing the garden when you want to harvest vegetables, practicing the passages that elude you as you strive to master Bach - but still you must wait. What you wait for is not entirely in your control. There is a reality greater than the present moment that is coming, that is approaching you, that you hope and yearn for but that you do not command. …

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