We Wait

11 Apr

“‘For a while’ is a phrase whose length can’t be measured.  At least by the person who’s waiting.”  ~ Haruki Murakami, South of the Border, West of the Sun

Today is my grandmother’s birthday.  She was born in 1890.  In her life, she experienced much change.  She saw electricity being used for the first time.  She marveled at that great invention called the radio.  She saw a simple life change into a very complex life.

She also was thrust into the anxiety and pain of waiting.  In 1960, she was mushroom picking with her husband.  She got ahead of him in the woods and she heard a muffled thump.  When she went back, she found that my grandfather had fallen and died of a massive heart attack.  The intense grief was so severe that she suffered a heart attack as well.  However, she survived her heart attack.  Grandpa was not so lucky.

From 1960 on, Grandma waited.  There was a hope inside of her that Grandpa would one day come back.  She kept his room, his closet, and his clothes for him until the day she died thirty-two years later.  She also nursed an anger with God for many of those years.  I remember her telling me once, when she was ninety, that she was never going to die.

Apparently, she told God that, since He didn’t take her when her husband died, that she was not going to go when He wanted her to die.  She was very convinced about that.  When she got to be ninety-eight, she told me that, perhaps, she had made a mistake speaking that way to God.  She told me that she would allow God to take her; but, not until she was at least one hundred years old.  She died at one hundred and two.

Her waiting for Grandpa was intense and sorrowful.  She felt the pain of his loss daily.  She avoided certain memories of him such as mushrooms.  She never ate another mushroom after his death mushroom picking.

This reflection, as you possibly surmised already, is not about my grandmother.  It is about the intensity of the wait of Holy Saturday.  A wait born in loss.  A wait of incredible pain.

Jesus was taken forcibly from His disciples.  He was nailed to the cross.  He died.  He was buried.  Their hopes and dreams were shattered.  They did not know how they were going to go on with their lives.  They felt lost.  I wouldn’t be surprised at all if some of them were angry at God.  They didn’t know what they were going to do or what was going to happen to them.

We are in the midst of that same wait.  Yes, we know the outcome:  Jesus rose from the dead on Easter morn.  However, we all wait on this earth for the time that God will call us to Himself.  Some of us wait in fear.  Some wait in anxiety.  Some drift from the path.  Some become lost.  Some turn their lives away from God and embrace the world.

This wait in which we find ourselves is intense.  There is no way we can avoid it.  We need to meet it head on and ask it to speak to us so that we may live our lives aright.

FAITH ACTION:  Spend some time in silence today, waiting for God to speak to your heart.