Waiting: What we can’t see!

Originally uploaded by M e l o d y

I have been reflecting on what Luci Shaw says, “anticipation lifts the heart.”

But if I am completely honest, I have found the waiting of this season to be excruciating. These weeks of in-between, of surrender, of emptying, of letting go and ultimately, the truth of knowing that what is coming, the Son of God coming as a Babe, it is so undeserved.  This anticipation feels uncomfortable.

“Faith is giving permission” Richard John Neuhaus says. “The gift has already been given and forever is now for those who have given God permission to let life be a gift.”

Mary, the mother of Jesus, anticipated his birth like any mother would if she were hugely pregnant!  And our waiting for the Babe is like being engulfed with pregnant expectation. The women reading, who have carried a child in their womb know this feeling.   The weight changes you! (by which I do not mean ‘weight gain’ but rather the feeling of being weighed down by what is to come).  Changes how you walk, how you sit, how you sleep (or don’t!) Day after day you wake, wondering if this is the day! You are full of anticipation that the babe might come today and you are rather helpless as to its timing.

Paul gives us a description of waiting in the New Testament book of Romans, as rendered by Eugene Peterson,

“Waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.”

I’m challenged to turn my impatience into a contentment I do not feel. I don’t want to rush. I don’t want to worry.  Will this gift appeal or meet the expectation? Who will surely be disappointed? Who is longing for something else. That’s bogus! I hate it. I want to sit “enlarged” by the waiting for the Babe.

This year, I feel as if I am waiting for something more.

It has been a long time coming. I do not know what I am doing with myself, my future, my career, what I am learning, my searching and my growing, with finding my voice and finding myself. This has all been happening so slowly, for the most part.  At times it comes in fits and bursts that have amazed me! But it has felt glacial in most other cases.  It has been a decade of anticipation.

Some days this is distressing.  And there are days when I completely lack any vision for my life – for its grander purpose.  I scream at God, impatiently. If I had quote that sums it up now, it might be this:

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning. ~ Albert Einstein

But as we question and wait, we must be clear about something else.  The book of James incredibly says it:  “Let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete.” Oh, how I long to be mature and complete.  Less striving.  More peaceful waiting.

And Shaw finally, “Pain, grief, consternation, even despair, need not diminish us. They can augment us by adding to the breadth and depth of our experience, by enriching our spectrum of light and darkness, by keeping us from impulsively jumping into action before the time is ripe, before ‘the fullness of time.’ I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope.”

It is his Son that I long for in this last week of Advent.  Oh, there is more that I wonder about but I know ultimately that the Babe is all I need.

God With Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas.

Albert Einstein and Naming My Blog

I like Albert Einstein.  Of course he was brilliant and quirky, with that crazy hair! But did you know he was a person of faith? I love that he thought for himself (well duh, with relativity and all.)  But he had a real contempt for authority.  Question everything he said. I love that!!

But I especially liked learning that he was slow to develop verbally.  Our youngest was as well. And Einstein thought that his verbal challenges allowed him “… to observe with wonder the everyday phenomena that others took for granted.”

Jacob’s language challenge has been something I have known about and worked to get help for, since he was eighteen months old (I will write about that some day).  I am inspired and filled with hope for my son, learned to speak slowly and who by everyone’s estimation is “delayed” academically.  It all stems from some things doctors have recently identified.  Perhaps Jacob will also learn to see the world differently as he makes his way in it.

“There is no limit to life, when your imagination and mind are vivid and developing.”

This gives me hope.

As a child Einstein “was so fervent about his beliefs that on his own he composed  hymns, which he sang to himself as he walked home from school.”  Lovely!  We like to compose music in our household!  (My kids have a band Squirrel Ticks.  Have you heard them?  I should post a few songs here.)

At age 12, just as he would have readied for his Bar Mitzvah, Einstein suddenly gave up Judaism which he had practiced on his own up to then as his parents rejected the Jewish traditions. As he later put it,

“The religious inclination lies in the dim consciousness that dwells in humans that all nature, including the humans in it, is in no way an accidental game, but a work of lawfulness, that there is a fundamental cause of all existence.”

Einstein did retain from his childhood religious experiences a profound faith in, and reverence for the harmony and beauty of the mind of God expressed in the creation of the universe. In his 50s, Einstein rethought his faith, as he did many times over his lifetime, based on what he called the “spirit manifest in the laws of the universe” and a sincere belief in a “God who reveals Himself in the harmony of all that exists.”

Do you believe in God he was asked?

“I’m not an atheist. I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws.”

“The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is something that our minds cannot grasp, whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly: this is religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I am a devoutly religious man.”

Do you accept the historical existence of Jesus?

“Unquestionably! No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word.  No myth is filled with such life.”

I’m intrigued with how he thought, how he “worked” at his faith, how he was impressed by the lavishness of the Creator and of the person of Jesus Christ.

And I love this: “… the most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mysterious…” I am in so much agreement!  And it is Einstein’s words that were the inspiration for the name of this blog and that echo my own heart as to the mystery of faith, belief or disbelief, science and much of life.

If you’re interested in subscribing to this blog, thank you!  I can’t say how often I will write.  And my musings are quite random and tend to depend greatly on the family schedule.  Thank you for reading and please, leave a comment or opinion!!!  I’d love to hear from you.

Quotations from a TIME.com article on Albert Einstein.  Read the complete article here.