When I was 10 or 11 years old I ordered a soldering iron out of a Lafayette Electronics catalogue. The Lafayette store was in Chicago and I was a world away in rural Saskatchewan.
I waited five weeks and the package came. When I opened it I saw that the ceramic molding had broken around the metal soldering post. It was no good. And I was devastated.
My mother helped me pack it up and send it back. I waited another 5 or 6 weeks until another parcel postmarked Chicago came. That was the year I soldered down everything in the house.
Rilke says that your strongest attachments are to a couple toys you had when you were a child. It’s true. I still have the soldering iron. But I know that in this case, beyond being fascinated by soldering copper wires together, my attachment grew out of what seemed an endless horizon of waiting.
Waiting strangely becomes us. It hones and perfects a longing within us. A longing that orients us outward toward others, toward something transcendent.
This is what Advent is about. It’s waiting, expecting…preparing. And the waiting is the preparing.
A sculptor I read about walked by the same stone everyday for ten years before he was able to see the bird inside. And what could that mean about who we are and what we do and how we see those around us and the refining process of waiting?