There is an aspect of waiting that I have thought very little about. I have felt it a lot, but I haven't really thought about it until I saw this article earlier this Advent (though it was written last year, I believe).
Desire. Yep, I am familiar with the concept. I have felt it, I have run from it, I have tried to stamp it into submission, I have ignored it, I have been beaten by it, I have been consumed by it. But I have not thought about it. I am thinking now, and there are interesting things to be found there.
One quote that I especially liked from Fr. Martin's article: "[D]esire is a key way that God speaks to us, whether in Advent or the rest of the year. Our holy desires are gifts from God." (Emphasis mine.)
Desire as a gift from God. On the one hand, I'm not sure I've considered it in just those terms. On the other hand, I wholeheartedly agree. Like many of God's amazing gifts, it is possible to twist this one into something that it shouldn't be, to allow it to become the god we seek rather than leading us to the God we need, but in the right context this desire can be a very beautiful thing.
I'm not sure that I can formulate all my thoughts on this subject into concrete words and ideas. I only know that when I contemplated surrendering my singleness to God, one of the things that I feared the most about this was that God would remove this desire and ache for marriage and family from my life. I never articulated it, but looking back I realize that accepting this desire without its fulfillment means that there is a piece missing from my life. But if the desire itself is gone, so is a piece of myself. This desire communicates something essential about me, both to myself and to anyone who knows me.
Our deepest longings shape us, and they help shape our understanding and appreciation for the very things that we desire. One of the implications that I have barely begun to understand is the way that these desires are a gift of God, and a way that He communicates intimately with us. But they are also an opportunity for us to freely offer them back to Him, that He will do with them what He wills. In acknowledging and praying for and seeking that desire, we accept that gift from Him, but in also letting it go we give that as a gift back.
Waiting and hoping are intimately connected with this desire. I continue to wait, and continue to hope and continue to let go. I don't know where it will lead, but I can tell you that when I went to Adoration this Sunday, I poured out all my deepest desires and longings to Him, and I lifted up yours as well. My prayer for the rest of this Advent is that we will let those holy desires wash over us, and accept them in whatever form they come today, and that those desires will connect us even more deeply with our desire for communion and relationship with Him.
Okay. I've written and rewritten this post enough times that I don't know what I'm saying anymore. I will just hit "publish" and if it doesn't make sense, go read what Fr. Martin had to say.