Saturday, April 07, 2012

Keeping Watch

Riverside Park

Lately I've been watching myself, watching for Spring.  

I usually enjoy changes in seasons, but this year's watchfulness seems heightened somehow.  


Each day I monitor the changes, making mental notes:  

This week the pear trees bloomed; that week the magnolias followed.

Now, tulips in flower beds.  Still - waiting for green leaves to come in.

Here, forsythia.  There, robins in the brush.

Last week, the sun set about 30 minutes after class started.  This week, there was still a little light left when leaving my voice lesson.

Riverside Church through the trees
I'm not sure why I find each change, each shift so fascinating this season.

But, as I've caught myself in watchfulness, it's made me think about waiting, about change, about forward movement more generally.


The way I've been watching for spring is not the way I've been watching for other changes in my life.  The way I've accounted for signs of seasonal change is not the way I keep watch for other sorts of signs.

Granted, spring is an assured change.  It will come, just like it does every year.  No faith required.  The signs of spring are visible, steady, quantifiable.  It's easy to see.

In other areas of my life (and here I refer mainly to larger questions of purpose, plan, direction, vocation, relationships) the results are not guaranteed.  The signs of movement, of progress, are not always as visible as a budding magnolia tree.


And it's easy (for me, anyways) to trend towards despair: "There is no change!  It will be like this forever!  Nothing is happening!"  But rather than defaulting to despair, maybe (maybe!) I could find a way to wait better.  Or use different eyes to watch for signs of forward movement.  

Either metaphorical eyes (like "eyes of my soul" or "eyes of faith" or I dunno - something along those lines).  Or a literal different set of eyes - like the eyes of my friends, who sometimes are able to see (from their distanced vantage point) change in my life that I can't quite see myself, because I'm too close to it.


Henri Nouwen (who I'd quote ad nauseum if you'd let me) wrote often about waiting.  For Nouwen, waiting was not a passive stand-by or a bored limbo, but it had a sense of activity to it:
 "Active waiting means to be present fully to the moment, in the conviction that something is happening where you are and that you want to be present to it. A waiting person is someone who is present to the moment, who believes that this moment is the moment."
I've enjoyed being in each moment of this spring, feeling that feeling that "something is happening"!  I'd like that feeling to extend into those other life areas.  Something is happening! There is a plan and it is in motion.

Elsewhere Nouwen wrote: "We are always waiting, but it is a waiting in the conviction that we have already seen God’s footsteps."

Yeah.  I want to wait like that.


Sonja said...

I love this quote, and I love you!

Rosanne said...

Oh it's happenin' Baby.....we just don't have His eyes to see it....oh ya!