Moving quietly, silently along the cloister walk early one winter morning, I glanced out at the snow glistening under the street lamps. Soon, it will be light out, another day – but a short one, due to winter.
Settled into my place in chapel, the bells rang out the Angelus and the Morning Prayer lector slowly got up to light the candles of the Advent wreath. I glanced at my watch when the bells rang – they always ring five minutes before the start of prayer. Puzzled at what I saw, I studied the watch’s face.
My watch had stopped.
I have three watches, and none of them work. It was as if God was trying to teach me an important lesson about time and waiting.
“What you are waiting for, child, is right here, right now.”
It always seems to be that way, doesn’t it? We wait, and we wait, and we wait – for the future, for whatever will fill a perceived emptiness or lack, for lunch, for dinner, for dessert, for the job offer, for a baby to be born, for a dying elder to pass on from suffering to eternal peace. We wait, and we wait, and we wait – for Christmas, for the Super Bowl, for the snow to stop falling, for spring to be sprung.
What if what we are waiting for is already here? Right here! Right now! As the voices in choirs of two chanted the Psalms at Morning Prayer early that winter morning, I contemplated this. Right now God enters in. Right now God holds us. Right now God cries with us, laughs with us, struggles with us, hears us and, most importantly, responds to us. All that we hope will arrive in the future is held in the eternal now that is our timeless and everlastingly faithful God.
So for a moment, I close my eyes to the watch that stopped, that bears no true wisdom, and I breathe…and touch upon something eternal within.
Maranatha. Come, O Spirit of Christ. Come now. Come, as you will.
Sister Ann Marie Wainright
Sister Ann Marie Wainright is a Benedictine Sister of St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minnesota. Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, she worked as a CPA for many years before earning dual masters degrees in counseling and pastoral studies. Sister Ann Marie is interested how people encounter God in their daily lives and how they use their faith and spirituality in meeting difficult challenges.