>The waiting begins. Advent.

This blog is about nothing if not waiting.
Waiting is one of the very worst skills of mine; by which I mean, I stink at waiting.
I am wretched at waiting because I have no patience.
So, of course I have had to wait many times, and surely will continue to.
And it is surely the reason I have eight children.
I have waited for many things and people over the years.
Sometimes I fall into the huge trap of “wishing away my life” (as they say here in the south) by the way I wait.
It’s true.
I have done that far too much, far too often.
I suspect I’ve lost years.

I have waited impatiently, filled with busyness, to finish college.
To get into grad school and out again.
Waited for Coffeedoc to finish med school. Then internship. Then residency.
Waited to stop being broke.
Waited to get married (seven years dating, so, I’m not kidding).
Waited to get pregnant (but only the third time…and that wait was particularly long and particularly difficult on all levels).
Waited to adopt. To be selected by a birthmom. To hold that baby.
Waited to adopt from Ethiopia. To jump through the paperwork hoops. To be matched with a referral. To pass court. To travel.
Waited for the CDC to clear my daughter to come home. To be allowed to travel.

Heck, I can turn waiting for Coffeedoc to get home for dinner into a sporting event.
So, yeah, I wait…all too often. And I do it all wrong.
Patience is NOT one of my virtues. Thus, I suffer a bit, or a lot, waiting.

The reason to drone on about all this waiting is that today is a special day.
Today is the day to try, once again, to approach waiting in the right spirit.
Today is the day to reframe the waiting into a better approach: preparation.
Today is the day to recognize the beauty of the wait: the anticipation, the slow glow of expectation.
Today is the first Sunday of Advent.

I love Advent.

When done right Advent is a season (four Sundays) of rich tradition, prayerful contemplative expectation, a settling into the deep; it is combined with an overlaid gauze of building excitement.
It is a preparation -not for a Christmas morning frenzy of torn wrapping paper and too many gifts.
But rather, a mindful preparation for the advent, literally the ‘coming,’ of the most important gift of all.

I almost always fail Advent.
I stay mired in the cycling hubub of my house, the must do’s, the should’s, the pressures and strains. I get lost in the jumble of calendar commitments and then resent the time they snatch away.
It’s the curse of the goal oriented…this sense of ‘eye on the prize.’ Get to Christmas, make it happen.
But the trap is that then you miss the process, the very beauty of the anticipation.
You miss one of the most beautiful seasons of the year.
I wish away this gorgeous season.

This year, once again, I hope to be more mindful.
To prepare the gifts early enough to stop the last minute frantic fretting and gathering.
To dig in and slow way down.
I hope and pray to see and stop and savor the small moments – the ones I might miss as I move so fast through the days.

This is Advent. It’s a beautiful time of preparation, inside and out.
It’s almost Christmas! He is coming.
The waiting begins again.

Know that the Lord is coming and with him all his saints;
that day will dawn with a wonderful light, alleluia.
From the Divine Office: First Sunday of Advent.