Thursday, 16 December 2010


This Advent, I have been very conscious of those who wait. I have four friends who are expecting babies any day (one has arrived!) I have an elderly relative who can't see or hear very well and so spends much of her life waiting for others to try to communicate or for assitance with things most of us take for granted that we can do ourselves. I have heard the stories of several people who are in a period of unnerving waiting to hear whether their jobs will be cut or not. Then we have all been conscious of prisoners who await trial or release or execution. Many of us rejoiced when An Sang Su Chi's years of waiting ended with her release from house arrest. Many of us have been moved by the plight of Sakineh Mohammedi Ashtiani who, in five years in prison, has suffered torture, lashing, retrial for the same crime and still awaits probable execution. These are just the people we hear about.

I contrast this with my own life, at the moment. Much as I do not want it to be filled with small busyness, it is. I caught myself, yesterday, making up beds for visitors with the mobile clamped to one ear so that I could talk to the doctor about a relative's medication while also listening to a CD from which I was trying to select music for Christmas services as the soup was boiling over in the kitchen. We allow our days to be filled so full of the small. We feel we are forced to, but in truth, we are not. There is time in every day to stop. The people who do wait and their stories could, if we let them, teach us the value of 'waiting and watching' spaces and seasons in our lives. Moments when we are at rest and we become conscious of what the present moment holds - there may be anticipation and fear, there may be peace and serenity, there may be memories to look through, there may be a pregnant emptiness or a great longing. Whatever there is for us, it can rise; it will show us something about what God is drawing us towards. It will reveal our prioirities and expose them in God's light and love. It may spur us to more purposeful, less frenetic action.

In Arvo Part's piece for 'cello and piano, Spiegel im Spiegel, the slow piano part gives a sense of the pianist waiting to place each note at just the right moment. The waiting and the dying of each previous note is what allows the music to rise.

Time is too slow for those who wait,
too swift for those who fear,
too long for those who grieve,
too short for those who rejoice,
but for those who love, time is eternity.

1 comment:

  1. :-) Thank you for posting this... you're very right, and its all too easy to get pulled into being overly busy with even the very best of intentions.

    On a side note, I've only ever heard Spiegel im Spiegel on Violin and Piano? I couldn't make the link work either :-(

    With Peace in Christ <><