Reading today from Kate Bowler’s Advent devotional, the season of almost, where she is speaking of Advent and the pandemic:
“Yes, things have changed. Yes, life looks different and our limitations are so much more obvious.”
There is certainly lots to dislike about a pandemic, the list is too long to start, but I like how Bowler boils it down to its essence – in a pandemic, at least this one we are experiencing, “life looks different and our limitations are so much more obvious.”
I am never comfortable when “life looks different.” After all [Hubris Warning!] I spent a whole lot of time and effort making it look like it did, or at least getting used to/resigning myself to how it looks. And oh, how I hate for my limitations to become obvious. It is bad enough that I recognize them, but the pandemic seemingly puts them on display in the holiday window at Macy’s. And of course Bowler’s/Advent’s solution to all this does not sit well – her admonition to wait. Doesn’t she know that I, along with many others, suck at waiting. This society of fast food, home delivery, buy today get it delivered today sucks at waiting and prides itself in NOT having to wait.
Which is, I suppose, the lesson to be taught, if not learned, in advent – have patience, wait. On this, Bowler quotes Bonhoeffer’s writing from the 1940s (so these issues with waiting are not new):
“Celebrating advent means being able to wait. Waiting is an art that our impatient age has forgotten. It wants to break open the ripe fruit when it has hardly finished planting the shoot. For the greatest, most profound, tenderest things in the world, we must wait. It happens not here in a storm but according to the divine laws of sprouting, growing, and becoming.”