Learning how to wait

I am not very good at letting people I admire have feet of clay. Maybe it comes from the high expectations I carry for myself, but I know I am too hard on others (as well as on myself). I say that I know that people will let me down, that I will let others down, but when it happens, I don’t handle it as well as I should.

Because of that, I spend too much time waiting for the next bad thing to happen. I set myself and my friends and family up for failure, because I am expecting all of us to let one another down, and I don’t know how to deal with the hurt.

Yesterday at church we talked about waiting, because it was the first Sunday in Advent. We talked about all the different kinds of waiting we do: in traffic, for a phone call to be returned, in a restaurant, and how to wait during the Advent season in more joyful anticipation of Christ’s birth. We talked about the ways we can prepare for Advent. We talked about remembering what it was like to look forward to something when we were small, when it was easier to look forward to things with excitement instead of dread.

For me, in thinking about Advent and waiting, I am trying to remember that the kind of waiting we do in Advent is something to look forward to, not something to be tolerated. And what does Advent mean for my tendency to expect the worst, to be unforgiving, not to allow myself or others to make mistakes? Today it seems to me that what I need to remember is that the miracle of the incarnation can help me there, too, and that I can wait in joyful anticipation for the day when I will finally learn to live outside the hurt that hinders me.

And because of the things we celebrate during this season, I can have hope that I won’t be stuck in this pattern forever.

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