Living life at such a fast pace in Oxford doesn’t often leave time for waiting. Waiting for the kettle to boil in the morning feels like a wasted couple of minutes in which I should be unloading the dishwasher or proofreading my essay (both things I only rarely do). Waiting for the end of term is hectic because there’s so much to fit in. Waiting for finals is nerve-wracking and unwelcome and I sincerely wish they never come. Waiting is a pretty alien concept in the crammed 8 weeks of term.
But Advent this year seems full of waiting. For me personally, starting to explore vocation and ordination is a process which I know will involve years of waiting. In my family, Dad is waiting to get married in less than 5 months. Mum is waiting for doctors to work out what went wrong with her kidney. My sister is waiting for school to end so she can get off to university. There’s a great sense of waiting in the Church too, waiting for the right legislation for women to be allowed to become bishops. Waiting to feel the full consequences of the No vote, waiting to see how we can move forward. Sometimes waiting is an exciting time, but more often than not it feels frustrating, demoralising, and like a waste of time. When we know what we’re heading towards and what we want the outcomes to be, we’re ready to get on and get there. Sometimes we’re held back by circumstances, sometimes by other people, sometimes by paperwork, but rarely by choice. Why are we waiting?
I’m sure there’s more to Advent than this.
I’m sure there’s more to waiting than impatience and frustration. I’m sure patience really is a virtue, even though I’m not yet sure why. I’m sure there are reasons why we spend December looking forward to Christmas, beyond the need for Christmas lists to be made and turkeys ordered in advance. I’m setting myself the task of reflecting on Advent over the next couple of weeks, to see what light it can shed on these seasons of waiting and to be reminded of all we’re really waiting for. Expect a few short posts under this title as I come across helpful insights from others, and do a bit of reflecting myself. In the mean time, I’d love to hear your thoughts (I’ll probably turn them into a post). Do also point me in the direction of blogs/articles/anything else you’ve seen that has helped you think about Advent. Perhaps by Christmas, I’ll have more of an idea of what this waiting lark is all about.