The Wisdom of Advent – Learning to Wait
Week 1: Hope
Thomas Merton says this about the person who has come upon the spiritual dark night, “If a man in this night lets his spirit get carried away with fear or impatience and anxiety, he will come to a standstill. He will twist and turn and torture himself with attempts to see some light and feel some warmth and recapture the old consolations that are beyond recovery. And finally he will run away from darkness, and do the best he can to dope himself with the first light that comes along.”1
Yesterday we reflected on our tendency to escape uncertainty by returning to things that previously worked for us, even when we know that the right thing for us is to leave them behind. Merton characterizes this as twisting and torturing ourselves “with attempts to see some light and feel some warmth and recapture the old consolations that are beyond recovery.” The other danger is that we might be tempted to shortcut the waiting process by grasping at the first good thing we see (Merton’s “first light that comes along”).
- Are you so uncomfortable with the uncertainty of your waiting that you’re reaching for something, anything, that you can have now rather than continuing to wait?
1. Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation, 237.
I am waiting in the company of Jesus. I’m reminded that all things are new. Whatever I am waiting for it will be within God’s time. Thank you for affirming this eternal truth! Enjoy the wait!