“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.


Not fifty.

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? 

#1 laying

Later she grabbed my camera and took this picture.


#1 on the move

the sound of laughter

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.

Categories: Faith, Family, Holiday



Leave A Comment

  1. ~ linda December 12, 2014 at 10:17 am - Reply

    Amy…I so needed this. I am too quick to seek meaning. I want focus. I want the answers all laid out standing at ready attention. Yet, we are called to wait with our eyes on Jesus. That is where the “focus” comes in but really only on Him. The rest should be fuzzy so that He is clear. “Restlessness” is not anything I placed in this context before or, at least, recall. Your niece #1 would rather be reading or lying on the path or stealing the camera away or racing ahead of you on the path or…. Yet, she sees the beauty of the trees pointing upward. She finds the ground beneath her to be still. She finds the joy in the race with her aunt. She may be restless, but in that, she seems to have found so much and given you and now me so much more.
    I have much to ponder here, Amy.

    • Avatar photo
      Amy December 15, 2014 at 3:03 pm - Reply

      Oh Linda, thanks so much for taking the time to comment and share your thoughts. It means a lot to me. :)

  2. Mark Allman December 16, 2014 at 2:03 pm - Reply

    I’ve been thinking alot about waiting lately. Waiting is hard work; at times lonely, at time sad; at times brimming with hope. As we wait we have to choose how we wait. We can wait with anger questioning God about his timing wondering if he realizes he has not acted yet. :) We also wait with love for love is found in waiting as we wait with hope; as we long for the good, the blessings, the desires. Trust is tied up in waiting too. For without love and trust what is our hope grounded too?
    We hope because we can’t pull the trigger and make happen that which we hope for. We need to lay that trust on God with our hope clearly spoken to Him. We can do things as we wait that overflow with love. For those that wait also love greatly. Waiting for our God to act.

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