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Thursday after Lent III–March 19, 2009

  • Posted on Mar 19, 2009

Waiting

I waited patiently upon the Lord; he stooped to me and heard my cry. Psalm 40:1

Waiting has never been easy. It’s something that we all have to learn to deal with on a regular basis. With our new “instant” messaging–e-mails, chats, twittering, we hope that everyone will be available when we need them. When we have an urgent e-mail ( and what we define as urgent is always up for examination), we hope that our e-mail recipient is on-line at that moment, ready with an answer. It’s as if the world is just waiting for us and our questions. When we are under a good deal of stress due to time pressures (which are almost unrealistic on occasion) or personal issues, it is easy to get frustrated.

I continue to be transfixed by Kathleen Norris’ book on Acedia. In it, she talks about waiting. In particular, she shares a time when she was in charge of keeping financial records for companies. Her new software added amazing feats of organization, yet, in order to save her time as a bookkeeper, she had to wait a few seconds for the computer to do its task. One day, she became frustrated at the wait. She decided to time the wait. The wait was 10 seconds! 10 seconds! There have been instances when I’ve felt the same way. When you sit down, pause and think about it, it seems ridiculous. Yet who of us hasn’t felt that way?

Norris writes about how this has always been the case. When the zippy stage coach was invented, some folks bemoaned the loss of days on horseback or foot–when there was time to smell the roadside flowers or speak to a fellow traveler resting under the tree. The stage coach led folks to expect to get to Philadelphia in one day instead of two. Expectations increased. Frustration with slowness abounded.

When I am in Western Maryland and am working, I do check our Sunday bulletins and publications. I come to the library once a day. Sometimes I don’t get an answer right away on a question or two. Sometimes I am not available for a question. Is it really that important? Sometimes I get anxious about my inability to be present at all times, yet is that ever really necessary for any of us? Communication does work at this mountain pace. I think about my usual week–when I am running between meetings, checking bulletins and goldenrods. Is there a calmer way to live and still get the information out? Is waiting such a bad thing? The prophet Isaiah tells us that those who wait on the Lord renew their strength. Good advice.