December 23, 2010

The Wait is Almost Over

The season of waiting is almost over; Christmas is nearly here!

Calling it the "season of waiting" suggests that in the weeks leading up to Christmas, we have a lot of spare time, when, for most of us, there is not the case.  To the contrary, we find every moment packed with activity.

Furthermore, we work hard to fill what few empty moments we do have.  The truth is, most of us hate to wait.

These thoughts came to me yesterday as I was peeling an orange.  I rarely eat oranges, because of the hassle involved: peeling takes too much time, and it's hard to wait!  However, I took my time peeling the orange, feeling the texture, allowing fragments of peel to get under my fingernails, smelling the aroma and watching the fine mist spray into the air as I pulled the orange apart.

Although I often avoid them, I've learned that quiet moments of waiting are essential to my well-being.  I used to hate empty moments of "wasted time," but now, at least some of the time, I treasure them.  It's in those quiet moments that my thoughts seem to settle and organize themselves.  It's in those quiet moments that I find myself able to breathe.

I have discovered a number of ways to wait that are rejuvenating.  Standing in a checkout line the week before Christmas is not one of them -- that's not the kind of waiting I'm talking about -- but these are:

  • drinking a cup of tea
  • going for a walk (without worrying about a destination)
  • doing crafts, like friendship bracelets (yes, friendship bracelets)
  • stacking rocks
  • gardening
  • meditating/praying, something that often takes place during one of the other activities
This is the kind of waiting I find helpful.  It never occurs while the TV or computer are on.  Updating one's facebook status is not "waiting."

Preparing for Christmas may require a lot of activity, but it also requires waiting.  Be sure to find some time to wait for Christmas.

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