Monday, December 21, 2009

Where your strength lies

By waiting and by calm you shall be saved, in quiet and in trust your strength lies. Is 30:15

Somehow this line from Isaiah ended up printed out and stuck in the interstices of my wall-mounted cache of folders early this fall. I can't recall why I printed it out then, but now I'm finding it a single, sharp point of contemplation for these last days of Advent. I'm still fighting off pneumonia, still wired on the various medications that ease my breathing, still unable to sing. So I wait, calmly (not calmly is not good for breathing, perforce), quietly (no voice - ack), and trusting that it will be fine. And it will.

This is a different kind of Advent stillness, not a full stop, not even a slowed pace. Not entered into as an elected discipline, it instead feels like a quietly directed contemplation of the vast landscape between uncertainty and trust. I feel like Mary, enormous with child, contemplating the roads ahead: the ones visible, the ones unseen, the ones unimaginable. If I were to do the Exercises again, I suspect I would see the road in that second contemplation of the Second Week -- the one that asks you to "to see with the sight of the imagination the road from Nazareth to Bethlehem; considering the length and the breadth, and whether such road is level or through valleys or over hills" -- with different eyes.

While I'm musing about hidden strengths here, my eldest is thinking here about his hidden strengths (which I would argue are very much what the world might need - if not so valued by the high school social scene).


  1. How old is that Michael?

    What he wrote? -- EXACTLY what I needed to read right at this moment.

  2. Fifteen and a bit. Or ancient. Hard to know sometimes.

  3. I left him a comment. Very lovely stuff - both yours and his.

    I hope you're feeling better.

  4. Thanks! He will love seeing a comment from someone who is not his mother.

    I've just sort of surrendered to a quiet, gentle celebration of the Incarnation...and deciding that I'm not going to worry about much of anything.

  5. I wanted to share this quote with you - from "East Coker" by TS Eliot. It has been much on my mind, and your blogs seem to enhance it for me:

    "And I said to my soul be still. 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 and the hope are all in the waiting.
    Wait without thought, for you are not yet ready for thought:
    So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing."