Hope means that I don’t need to know. I only need to yearn.
I only need to recognize how often I am asleep when I live today based on yesterday’s experience, when I interpret the next hour based on the knowledge I gained from the last one, when I let (what I have understood of) what has been dictate the form and shape of what will be.
This first Sunday of Advent, I light no purple candle in a sanctuary. In between feedings, with boys wrestling around behind me and a husband graciously holding a sleeping six-day-old boy, I light a candle in our front room and find times for the scriptures and Rohr’s Advent thoughts. I trust that something is there in those ancient words of scripture and contemplative words of a Franciscan friar that God can bring to the weary and wounded.
“Keep awake for you do not know,” Matthew says.
In these early days of newborn life, I try to cling to what I know. I play out these days based on what I expect them to be. When I am weary, I only expect to get wearier still. When I am in recovery pain, I only count the hours it will endure. When I rely only on my own paths, sadness can easily consume and fear can enter through the tiniest opening.
In my sleep, what I predict is as good as it gets. I rely on automatic filters to interpret what I see, auto-pilot routes to guide my feet, expected outcomes to assuage my mind, and predetermined scripts to fill my lips. But can there not be more than what I predict there to be?
“Perfect fullness is always to come,
and we do not need to demand it now.
This keeps the field of life wide open and
especially open to grace and to a future
created by God rather than ourselves.”
– R. Rohr
The field of life wide open. A future still possible. The birth of Jesus, God’s Divine Interruptor, that disrupts the routine world with impossible-before possibilities.
In the yearning, may I not expect the luxury of resolution, closure, or fulfillment. May I grow comfortable with a life that waits. May I receive hope born in the field of life wide open. May hope still live.