Monday, December 05, 2016

Waiting room.

Advent gets swallowed up by Christmas, which wastes lots of the lovely stuff we could get out of early December.

It's a conversational favourite, isn't it, how November and December - and earlier - are nibbled out of our hands by manic shops and beautifully deceptive adverts; school nativities; summertime populating of the holiday calendar?

It is too easy to criticise these superficialities, to have a dig at Other People who indulge in or force us to indulge in ever-earlier shopping, planning and decorating. Really, we are all guilty of coveting a future Christmas; of stunted courage and imagination. We while away the cold, dark, wet days of the present with our plans for a perfect future that never arrives quite right. And is sometimes dreadfully disappointing.

My chosen Advent book emphasises the nobility of a waiting state of mind, describing the best kind of life as one of a 'chosen unfulfilment'. This sounds (unappealingly) abstract but it is easy to apply.

In my case, one way I fail to wait is in my relationships. I am always managing them towards something different and better. I allow myself to be consumed with irritation at a loved one because they fail to behave right, enjoy my hospitality 'properly', treat me with indulgence or act healthy and happy at my convenience. I hurry selected friendships along, failing to make space for the 'I'm not quite sure about you yet' phase. I try to manufacture Christmas perfection in my relationships. So, I am always disappointed.

For you, this may not be an issue - but I'm sure different forms of management, control and 'rush' towards an ever-evasive future will be relevant.

Advent is a rich resource because it is the seasonal symbol of the mortal 'present'. It gives us special opportunity to think about the incompletion, the 'not yet' of our moment. To consider how we waste our lives by forcing them to become a Future we can never control or even reach. To consider how to live hopefully but not imperiously.

Savour it, if you can.

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