I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love, for love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith, but the faith and the love are all in the waiting. Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: so the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing – T.S. Eliot
One Christmas Eve, many years ago, I sat in church listening to my Dad talk about waiting. About anticipation. I remember him quoting a passage from the bible that talked about how – when all of the things were happening around her – Mary pondered them in her heart.
I’ve never forgotten that image.
When I wished my husband good morning this morning we talked about how we both always really loved Christmas Eve, because it was all still to come. When you were a kid on Christmas Eve, Christmas was still a big magical unknown. Everything twinkled Christmas Eve. The magic was in counting down the hours.
We are very much in a waiting, preparing, unknown phase of our journey. We are just past eleven weeks until we leave. Part of my fatigue and stress right now is that when people ask us what we are going to be doing, I have nothing normal to tell them. Rather than have another conversation that involves me justifying our leap, or helping them be less afraid, I have taken to outright lying or embellishing the truth. For me, that is a sure route to chest pains.
The truth is: we don’t know what we are doing. We have ideas and hopes and a place to stay for seven months, but other than that we are going on… what? Faith? That is a surprisingly difficult thing for people to hear.
We are going to go and see. We are going to see if we really want to be there before we commit, and then we are going to be open to the opportunities that present themselves. We’re deliberately not making firm plans, because we both believe that what we can dream is too small for ourselves.
And so tonight as I join people all over the world in Christmas Eve anticipation, I will also be lighting a candle and remembering Mary, who waited in much more discomfort than everyone else and pondered it all in her heart.
And starting tomorrow, I will begin a practice of lighting a candle as I count my blessings every night. Because every night holds the magic of the next day. Because every day is a leap of faith. Because we can’t dream big enough for ourselves.
Because it is all still to come.
With much love,