Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pre-Advent, Even Pre-Thanksgiving

Advent is about paying attention ~ and I see that two years ago I wrote the following:

Paying attention is almost impossible when loss is fresh, when grief has splintered the pieces of your life into a puzzle no longer recognizable.

And yet, it is the task of Advent. Pay attention, even if you have no idea how. Pay attention, even if you don't want to. Pay attention, even if you can't.

And a year ago I quoted Alfred Delp, S.J., writing from Tegel Prison in Berlin in 1944:

Being shaken awake is entirely appropriate to thoughts and experiences of Advent. . . . It is precisely in the severity of this awakening , in the helplessness of coming to consciousness, in the wretchedness of experiencing our limitations that the golden threads running between heaven and earth during this season reach us; the threads that give the world a hint of the abundance to which it is called, the abundance of which it is capable.

How striking it is to me that those posts should have been about attentiveness and awakening, writing just before Advent seasons which seemed impossible to bear. I think it was last year that I wandered into a department store at just about this time, took one look at the lights and displays and profusion of . . . of profusion, and fled, not to enter a retail establishment again until after the New Year.

But that's not the abundance to which we are called to awaken, despite the best efforts of the progeny of Mad Men.

Perhaps this will be the year in which I will finally begin to get glimpse of those golden threads running between heaven and earth. Perhaps they are much more apparent when we are anchored in limitation than when we are capable of embracing profusion.

The past two years, I have felt little beyond numbness through the Advent season. This year, I think I might have a ringside seat for seeing things I've never noticed before.

No comments: