“We are too quick to seek meaning.”
The spiritual director said. I shared this insight on Tuesday and days later, here it is hanging out in my soul. When something sticks, pay attention.
Combine with this wisdom from Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
“Not everyone can wait: neither the sated nor the satisfied nor those without respect can wait. The only ones who can wait are people who carry restlessness around with them.”
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer
(God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas)
Not everyone can wait.
If you are sated or satisfied or a jerk (modern translation), you have no need for waiting.
Only those who carry restlessness around with them can wait.
This seems so backwards, doesn’t it? Yet if I have something in completion, I’m not waiting for it.
We don’t just have a child, we have children in progress wondering who they will become. We don’t merely have a job. We have a job that is either fosters growth or close in. Holy restlessness to see which it is. We don’t simply have friends, some are for a season and others are lifers.
A walk I took with Niece #1 last January came to mind as I put flesh to this ida of, “The only ones who can wait are people who carry restlessness around in them.” When we ask if she wants to go for a walk nine times out of ten, the introvert book reader in her says “No,” making the rare yeses precious.
This photo, taken near the start of our walk, disappoints me because it’s nearly in focus, but not quite. Argh! So close, yet so far. When the goal is meaning and clarity, I don’t want to share it with you. With so many gorgeous images out there, who needs a slightly out of focus stump?
About 15 minutes into our walk, #1 laid down on the path.
Restlessness within me abounded. But so did joy. Joy we were together. Joy mixed with fear, if you’re laying down now, are we in for a long haul?
Later she grabbed my camera and took this picture.
I have three distinct memories from this hike related to carrying restlessness.
1. The sound of this walk is laughter. Restlessness doesn’t have to be synonymous with drudgery.
2. It can also involve experimentation. After the laying down, #1 tested out crawling to see if it used less energy.
3. Restlessness can fortify. I look at these pictures and think, “Dad was still alive. Her grandpa was still alive.” We didn’t know a few weeks later we’d be thrust on a trail where we’d want to lay down and crawl. This time in the mountains fortified us as a family for the road we didn’t know we’d be on.
In this season of waiting, I am thankful God doesn’t limit us to kum-ba-ya waiting. instead he’s comfortable, maybe even desiring, us to carry restlessness.