Tag Archives: unhelpful

Wait Patiently, In Expectation!

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, November 30, 2015

PATIENCE God is not absent

Wait Patiently, In Expectation!

How often have I seen a small child (or, even, a not-so-small child) complain, “I want it now!” and, “Are we there yet?” And even, “Is it ever going to be time to go in?”

Ah, how difficult it is to be patient, sometimes.

Fr. Nouwen quotes the author Simone Weil as saying in her notebook, “Waiting patiently in expectation is the foundation of the spiritual life.” I have learned to be wary of expectations. Wishful, pie-in-the-sky expectations, or dreary, down-in-the-dumps expectations. Either way, runaway expectations can be poisonous and completely unhelpful.

Sure, in the short term, expectations can be positive. Even long-term goals, prudently set, can be beneficial, too. Watch for hopeful, helpful expectations. A good thing, certainly, within limits.

But, what if—like a small child—I stamp my foot and just can’t wait through the weeks of Advent for the Christmas holidays? Or, what if an acquaintance of mine is in a snit because of faulty holiday expectations?

Well. Nouwen tells us in this reading that patience comes from a Latin word “patior,” which means “to suffer.” The root of the primary word is a negative one! Yet, Nouwen showed us how this “bad” word can become positive. “What seems a hindrance becomes a way; what seems an obstacle becomes a door; what seems a misfit becomes a cornerstone.” [1]

Dear Lord, help me to open my eyes. Help me view the “not-quite-rights” as Your much beloved children. Dear Lord, gracious God, keep my mind focused on things of You. Let me view the challenges and difficulties of life instead as way stations in my journey through life.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 4.

Carrying Baggage

matterofprayer blog post for Wednesday, January 8, 2014

smiley ball

Carrying Baggage

My memories are powerful. When I experience life today, I can’t help but think of today through the lens of my memories.

Emotions get involved, too. For example, I can talk to a family member and at the same time remember past interactions I’ve had with them. Happy, sad, angry, or frightened. These memories might color the present conversation I’m having today.

Sound, sight, hearing, understanding, aspects of my body—all of this affects my memories, too. I was particularly struck by Tilden Edwards’ comments on Re-membering from his book Living in the Presence. Instead of positive memories coloring my understanding of today’s happenings and conversations, our memories can be haunting. Running the old tapes over and over reinforces negative thinking. It might affect my perception of today and cause it to become unhelpful, unfruitful, even painful.

As Edwards suggests, God wants us to come closer. To draw near. To “participate in making all things new (Rev. 21:5).” God offers fresh moments to each of us, each day. I don’t have to carry all kinds of baggage with me—whether physical, spiritual, mental or emotional. I am urged to put down those old bags, those raggedy, tattered bags, those stinky, rancid bags. God can make all things new. God can make me new, each day. Can free me from carrying a heavy pack  on my back. God can make you new and fresh and free, too.

A clean slate, new every morning. Thank You, God!

Let’s pray. Dear God, thank You for Your promises, new every morning. Thank You for your faithfulness to each one of us, every day. Forgive me for fleeing from You, for staying in my own head, and running those negative tapes over and over. You want to free me from all that! Thank You for urging me to put down all the unnecessary bags I’m carting around. Thank You for making all things new. Including me. Amen.