My contemplative class (whose traveling adventures were previously chronicled here) is reading and talking about Quakerism. We began class today by waiting until someone was moved to speak (we've spend enough time together in silence to be able to do this). We noted that it can be awkward to wait in this way. Will anyone talk? I found I had to remind myself to not talk merely to "coach" them along. Wait. Until. Someone is moved.
We spent some time talking about waiting, and its role in the contemplative life. Our last meeting had focussed on what constitutes obedience in the lay contemplative life — reading Madeleine Delbrel where she recommends using the vagaries of life to form oneself in obedience. At the end of class today I noted that one practice I use to foster patience is to let the person behind me in line at the supermarket go ahead of me. Particularly when it's really crowded. One of my students noted that just the thought made her anxious. "Me, too. That's why I keep practicing."
I'm writing about waiting for Advent...how do you practice waiting? or do you?
Jim McDermott, S.J. has some interesting thoughts about waiting on God, the Spiritual Exercises and Advent here.