Everything is Waiting for You

Your great mistake is to act the drama
 as if you were alone. As if life

were a progressive and cunning crime 
with no witness to the tiny hidden

transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny 
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,

even you, at times, have felt the grand array; 
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding 
out your solo voice. You must note 
the way the soap dish enables you,

or the window latch grants you freedom. 
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.

The stairs are your mentor of things 
to come, the doors have always been there

to frighten you and invite you, 
and the tiny speaker in the phone

is your dream-ladder to divinity.
Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing 
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots

have left their arrogant aloofness and 
seen the good in you at last. 
All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably  
themselves.  Everything is waiting for you.

I heard David Whyte talking about this poem earlier this week.  He said it’s amazing and wonderful, isn’t it?!  Everything, everything, everything is waiting for you. . . .      

It’s amazing and wonderful until we realize that it’s absolutely true: 
everything is waiting for us.  Everything.
And I started thinking about how I wait until Clivie goes to bed to do the dishes and the laundry and the bills.  They’re not going anywhere.  They are waiting for me.
And reading our scripture for this morning, I started thinking about Jesus at this time of his life—here, at the beginning of his ministry.  So full of life and possibility.  Everything ready.  Everything waiting. . . .  Even his abandonment and demise. . . .  Even our demise and death. 

Everything is waiting for you.
But in the meantime—right now, in this moment—the good news we must remember is that we are not alone.  Many of us have the tendency, don’t we, to isolate ourselves when problems arise and things get difficult—when we take a foray into the uncertain wilderness areas of our lives.  We don’t want to seem needy or vulnerable or incompetent or weak or wrong.  We don’t want others to see us at our worst.  Am I right?  We save that—for better or worse—for the people we’re closest to.  We save our nastiness for them. . . . Or we turn it in on ourselves.  And we act the drama is if we were alone.
To a large degree, our culture and the Western worldview we’ve grown up with has trained us—and continually tempts us—to do this.  But it’s really not compatible with the Christian faith we profess.  Our faith is not all about us as individuals; it is about us as an ever-widening, welcoming, loving community.  When we get afraid, we may be tempted to clamp down into survival mode, shut everyone else out, and look out solely for our own narrow self-interest, but as Jesus clearly demonstrates during his own season of temptation in the wilderness, this is not what we are called to do and be about.
We may also have access to tremendous power and privilege that enables us essentially to turn our stones into bread, to overcome hardship without a lot of difficulty, to avoid certain heartaches and pain, to accumulate accolades and authority.  But our faith calls us look beyond just what’s in it for me and toward the well-being and common good of our entire community and the entire world.  It’s not just about me.  Jesus doesn’t just love ME.  Jesus is not only MY personal savior.  Our faith calls us into something much more expansive than that.  Jesus comes to us to awaken us to the possibilities of the common good—not to serve his own personal desires.  Everything is waiting for us.
Even—especially—our neighbors.  If we are only focused on ourselves—and our level of power and amount of privilege—we’re going to miss that.  We’re going to continue to consume at wildly irresponsible rates, waste resources, demand cheap labor—which translates into cheap and disposable people. We’re going to miss meaningful opportunities to share our bread with someone who desperately needs it—to figure out ways to build life-giving, sustainable relationships across racial, economic, social, political, sexual orientation, educational, national, and ethnic divides. 
We might be tempted—like Jesus was—to turn a blind eye.  To allow the already privileged and powerful to accumulate more and more.  But at what point do we draw the line?  At what point are we willing to pay attention to the profound needs and well-being of God’s beloved children all around us?  At what point do we allow God’s abundance and generosity to work on our hearts?  At what point are we willing to share the blessings we have received?
Do you remember the Israelites who escaped from slavery in Egypt and wondered in the wilderness?  When they complained that they had no food, God sent them manna from heaven.  Their only instruction was to take only what they needed each day.  They were not to store it up, stockpile it, and accumulate it.  Do you remember what happened if the Israelites did take more than they needed and tried to accumulate it?  Rot and fester.
We are called to live with open hands.  To challenge temptations that demean certain people for the benefit of others.  To embody abundance and grace.  To problematize our relationship with greed, and to work aggressively to make sure everyone has enough.  Everything is waiting.  The fabulous preacher Barbara Brown Taylor writes, “Earth is so thick with divine possibility that it is a wonder we can walk anywhere without cracking our shins on altars.”  Everything is waiting.  Every day we have opportunities to come face to face with the Divine.  Every day we have experiences that call to us and remind us that we are not alone. We are all part of the same body—the one body of Christ.  Hasn’t Paul been telling us that?!  So, the temptation is to think otherwise.  The temptation is to think this journey of life is all about us as individuals—to act as if we are alone.
During this journey into Lent, we are called to empty ourselves of all those thoughts and actions that remove us from our identity as God’s beloved child.  And to fill ourselves up with the wonderful live-giving possibilities of our ever-widening, welcoming, loving community of faith.


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