September 10, 2011

Reflections: In waiting, we can find our way

By Teresa Schulz

(Continued from page 1)

REFLECTIONS is a column written by members of Maine's faith-based community. Opinions expressed in the column reflect the author's view and not necessarily that of the newspaper.

Dwelling in the unknown frightens us. While feelings of being lost and separated can cause us discomfort and pain, they can also bring forth transformation and rebirth.

Kidd identifies a threefold cycle of waiting: separation, transformation and emergence. During this cycle, we can embrace our spirituality and our relationship with each other and with God in a deeper way.

The spirituality of waiting has a long history. We read about the spirituality of waiting in sacred scripture. Noah waits for the flood waters to retreat, Jonah waits inside a whale's stomach, Sarah waits for a child, the Israelites wait in Egypt, the apostles wait for Pentecost, Mary waits for her child to be born, Paul waits in prison, Jesus calls the Apostles to wait, even Jesus waits for 30 years before he begins his ministry.

In their waiting, they all feel lost at times, lost on their journey, lost to themselves, lost to others and lost to God. Noah, Jonah, Sarah, Mary, Paul and Jesus experience both the joy and the sorrow associated with waiting -- awe, surprise, wonder, amazement, frustration, impatience, doubt, fear, loneliness, abandonment and even death.

As we reflected on waiting and being lost, Dan and I recalled how we sometimes take the wrong turn, we miss the point, we bump into things, we can't see the light, we don't trust and we can't immediately find our way back. However, when the waiting is over, there are feelings of joy, renewal, relief, calm, freedom and peace.

The Bible urges us to wait: "For thee do I wait all the day" (Ps 25:5); "Wait for thy God continually" (Hos. 12:6); "Wait for it; because it will surely come" (Hab 2:3); "My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning (Ps 130:6); "But if we hope for that which we see not, then do we with patience wait for it" (Rom. 8:25).

In that last sip of coffee, we were reminded that waiting precedes the celebration. We must be present and we must be prepared to wait -- if not, we may miss the transcendent.

I recall hearing a quote recently: "Lost is a place too." This place can be spiritually fulfilling if we recognize it and we embrace it. While we all long to find our way -- and to arrive at our destinations -- the spirituality of waiting and being lost -- can teach us many things. People of faith recognize that we will be lost at times, and at times, we are called to wait.

Teresa Schulz is a spiritual director, lay theologian, retreat facilitator, lecturer, volunteer chaplain and co-founder of mainespiritus and Tools for Intentional Living (TILT)©. She may be contacted at:


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