I flew on the tail end of a blizzard. Bad weather leads to delays. Delays lead to long waits.
What do you do when you wait? Do you distract yourself from the situation by reading or doing puzzles? Do you disengage from the people around you by communicating with your social networks online or via phone? Do you get angry at the people in charge who may or may not be able to do anything about the wait?
As New Yorkers, we don’t have to wait for much. We can have almost everything almost instantly. My observation is that this leads to people having less and less skills for waiting itself. On some level, we don’t even wait for Christmas, we half-celebrate it for weeks before the actual day arrives.
And yet waiting can be a spiritual practice. In the church world, we are in a season of waiting called Advent. In a world of non-stop activity and instant information and cross country travel, waiting asks us for an entirely different set of skills. It asks us not to do, but to be. It allows space for quiet time, reflection and preparation.
This Advent, wait. Not in an impatient way, but in a meaningful way. How do you do that? The same way I did in the airport. I set up camp in a quiet corner. I ate lunch, finished some work, practiced some yoga (yes, I’m that crazy person doing yoga in the corner of the airport). Then I simply waited. I stopped “doing” and started “being.”