“Passionate Waiting” is the title of today’s reading from Henri Nouwen. I can do passionate, and oh boy, can I ever do waiting. I’ve been under the care of various hospitals most of my life (nothing serious) and remember those glory days as a child when me and Mum would arrive in the hospital waiting room. We’d check out who was there to see whom, and would generally discover that there would be anything up to a dozen people with the same appointment time to see the same consultant. This was normal back then (late 1970’s), and people just waited. The trouble would start if a later batch started to arrive and started to be seen. Then there were words spoken to the nurses. My personal record was a five hour wait. It doesn’t happen these days thank goodness.
But passionate waiting? I suppose temperatures used to run a bit high…..passionate?
I think of passion as an active thing, an emotion which
provokes demands action. And yet there is something of surrender in passion to – a giving up of oneself to the object of the passion. We remember Jesus in Gethsemene – a preparation for Passion which demanded no physical action, but a refraining-from-action surrender. Not to act is often harder than doing something – just consider how hard it can be to sit still and silent for half an hour.
So how do I passionately wait? How do I sit and consider the unresolved situations in my life I feel passionately about, and accept with gladness the knowledge of “not yet”? By remembering that passion is about inaction as much as action, that surrender is part of what must be done – surrendering to Christ, relinquishing control, and sitting for a cuddle with God my Father.
I find it easier to think about than to do.