Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Just Breathe

“Waiting is an art that our impatient age has forgotten. It wants to break open the ripe fruit when it has hardly finished planting the shoot. But all too often the greedy eyes are only deceived; the fruit that seemed so precious is still green on the inside, and disrespected hands ungratefully toss aside what has so disappointed them.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Busy.

This is the word that I often use to describe my life. People ask how my week has been or how the next one is looking and the response that seems to leave my lips time and time again is this simple four letter word.
Busy with school, busy with work, busy with church. Busy with shopping, busy with friends, busy with life.

Making plans, changing plans. Booking, cancelling, re-booking. Checking my schedule, asking for time off, driving, working. Busy.

And in the busyness, the last thing I want to do is wait. 


I move from one check-out line to the next, trying to decide which will get me through the fastest. I go to bed late and wake up rushing to the first event of the day. I text. I call. I email. And the response I want from the rest of the world is a prompt one.

I want to pick the fruit before it is ripe.

And yet, here I find myself, being forced to slow down. I have tagged along on Brandon’s Tuesday afternoon break. Although he tries to schedule this every week – a time to study, a time to read - after the busyness of Monday’s, it almost never actually comes to pass. Meetings need to take place, orders need to be made, someone needs an answer. Yet today he carved it out and set off to his favourite Starbucks with me and my never ending list of things to be done in tow.

I dropped him at the doors, rushing off to the bank and Walmart. Picking up last minute things for a Christmas exchange, finally depositing some cheques, and returning an unneeded item. Rushing, moving, wandering. Checking off the little boxes from my list.

As I return to the coffee shop, I am blown through the doors, finding Brandon tucked away in a large brown chair in the corner of the store. He’s reading, coffee in hand, and I almost feel a calmness settling in myself.

I join him, sinking into the leather across from him, pulling out my computer and clicking on this and that. Soaking myself in social media, sending emails, and checking dental plans. Staying busy, continuing to rush through.

Closing my laptop I find myself finally cracking open my advent devotional for the first time, only 9 days late, and being reminded that this is actually a season of slowing down, of observing, of taking a deep breath.

A deep breath to get centered. A deep breath to actually look forward to Christmas.

It is not about the busy sidewalks, passing people, smiling and moving along. It is about the waiting. It is about the slowing down.

It is about finding the time to sit in a big brown leather chair across from my husband.

The errands are important, the people are great, the check list needs to find a way to be done... but it doesn’t need to right now. And it doesn’t need to be the focus.

I need to be willing to let the fruit ripen. I need to be willing to wait.

When I do take the time to reflect in my life, it is often squeezed into a 20 minute period that brings forth great aspirations and resolutions. I want to eat well. I want to get in shape. I want to be more courteous, more giving, and think more of others. I commit to being a better wife, daughter, friend. And yet I don’t take the time to really think of what this might take, how this might look, or recognize the work involved.

I plant the seed and then find myself forgetting to water it the very next day.

I return the next week, surprised when I don’t see buds popping from the soil, surprised when I pluck the poor seed out and don’t see a flower.

I am not willing to wait, I am not willing to take the care.

Life is not all about rushing through and having a list of accomplishments a mile long. Sometimes a single unexpected conversation can serve a greater purpose in your day than checking every last thing off of that ‘to do’ list. It is not about the number of things you have accomplished but the depth. Quality, not quantity.

I hope to take the time to learn the discipline of waiting during this Christmas season. As I wait for the celebration of Christmas, of Jesus’ birth, I pray that I may learn to wait in my life. I hope to be able to plant the seeds and watch them grow. I hope that I can remember to water the plants.

It is not about how much seed I can scatter, but rather how deep the roots go.

It is time to slow down. It is time to breathe. It is time to sink a little further into this brown leather chair. 


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