The Waiting Game

The Waiting Game

Advent provides a sense of peace and joyful anticipation as we wait out the true meaning of Christmas: The Incarnation of God the Son . . . or at least it should be that! So what do we do with all the time spent waiting? Are we focused on the arrival of Jesus or do we spend our time in anxiety with all the tangible matters we need to attend to?  

Take time along the way to smell the flowers.

My 20-year-old son, Scott, has always taken his time in everything he does. From the time he was small, I have always described him as the one who would “take time along the way to smell the flowers.” Though I have failed in trying to get him to be speedier, he has never changed. But I have come to appreciate that about him. 

I, on the other hand, am a very impatient person. My mom gets frustrated with me when I stop in for a visit and then tell her I cannot stay long. I’m always racing to go from one activity to the next, pressed for time. Therefore I tend to get uptight and anxious about not being able to get things done.  

Years ago, I vowed not to spend time waiting in lines for Christmas shopping. This year, however, my oldest son, Dominic, asked me to go shopping with him on Black Friday. I took the opportunity to spend time with my son and actually went. Surprisingly, we were able to make some gift purchases that entailed no waiting in lines. And the best part of the day was the hug I got from Dominic for sharing my time with him!  

There was also a wait of a different nature this year. A friend’s father had kidney failure and was given a week to live. Family members were at his bedside showering him with love and affection until a week later when he took his last breath. Waiting for the death of a loved one is a time you never want to rush. 

All Good Things to Those Who Wait

For the first time in my life, I am prepared for my Christmas day family celebration early. The presents have been wrapped and nestled under our tree before December even began! So, for Advent, I plan to spend my stress-free time waiting with the real meaning of Christmas. Already, I was able to attend our parish penance service. And I now have time to help my mom with post-op recuperation. I’m also available to assist my friends who are mourning the loss of their loved one.    

I wish you all a joyous and merry Christmas. I hope that you, too, can make the most of your Advent time this year: anticipating the birth of Jesus. Instead of getting lost in the commercialization of this season, I hope that you can take time along the way to smell the flowers! (Or maybe, given the season, you can smell the pine trees!)  

Featured image: Filomena Scalise
Inside blog image: nuttakit


About the Author

Sharon Lape is an editorial assistant in the periodicals department at Franciscan Media. She also researches and provides content for the popular Minute Meditations feature. Sharon is a wife and a mother of four children.
  • Wren Hartlaub-Shaver

    Sharon! What a timely reminder! It is extremely easy to get caught up in preparations and forget why we’re doing it all. Our Christmas is going to be peculiar this year because we won’t be opening gifts on Christmas Day. This is a good reminder to actually celebrate Christ’s birth rather than our own avarice. Perhaps we’ll even start a new tradition!

  • Linda Matthews Gardner

    Sharon that was beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing! It is so nice to have friends who are people who can inspire us with faith to be patient and wait for the good things to come around. The best part is to realize the blessings of the everyday little things we so often take for granted.

  • Krista Neher

    Great post! It is so easy to get caught up in the commercialization that we sometimes forget to enjoy the season… Thanks for sharing!

  • David

    Thank you, I needed this reminder and encouragement!

  • Judyz

    What a great reminder to all of us to slow down at this time of year. Thanks for the post.

  • Dominic

    I rather enjoyed reading this blog, mostly due to the fact that there are no references in this blog to the ruthless effort to attack creatures of the avian variety using stones as a weapon.

    Oh, and it was also nice to read that you had a good time on Black Friday with me. I had fun too. Can’t wait for Christmas to come!

    • Sharon Lape

      Haha, Dom! Glad to see you read my last blog, too! Thanks for shopping with me! When can we go again? …because I have TIME this Advent! :) Love ya! <3

  • Janice

    I think this is a wonderful story. It really does bring back that we should all slow down and focus on the moment, not the next activity. Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful Christmas!

  • Mtgrove

    Great article. While reading it I could hear the music of the Who’s singing “Welcome Christmas Day” from “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”. That always brings me back to the true meaning of Christmas. This year, it was your article that did that. Thanks.

  • dwand

    YOU got to me! I didn’t expect that. KUTGW

  • Debbie

    I, too, need to slow down. I try each year also and like you, have taken the time to try and spend more time with my kids and getting other things done early to enjoy the gifts of my children more….our time, love and laughter together! Merry Christmas! <3

  • Mewand

    Well done, Sharon. We all sometimes neglect the really important things.

  • Michelle

    Great writing Sharon… I plan on doing just that, taking time to be with my family and really appreciate them, we had a great snow day today too!

  • Kawands

    Any chance you can remind me in 2011 to get on the ball and have all those commercialization things out of the before Thanksgiving? When I was first married I did that…and it really did free up the time to spend preparing for Christmas, helping others to reduce their stress level and baking cookies with the kids…I could now use that time for my grandchildren!

  • Tim

    Great post and wonderful insight. Plus, seeing your son posting adds even more beauty to the blessings of your life this season.

  • Mariann

    While reading this I couldn’t help but hear all the little Whos in Whoville singing “Welcome Christmas Day” after the Grinch had stolen their presents. That always brings me back to the true meaning of Christmas. This year it was your article that did that for me!

  • Sand Digman

    And a merry Chrismas to you, too, Sharon! Thanks for sharing this!

  • Leah

    GREAT blog, Sharon!

  • Jpinotti

    I have always known you are a wonderful writer! This was a very enjoyable story, and reminded all of us the real reason for the season. And, of course, to make all of us procrastinators feel ashamed that we don’t have it all together like you! ;o) Just kidding, we still have lots of time left!! Love ya!

  • Monnaleeyounger

    Well done my good and faith-filled child. I loved your story and the part of your mentioning I get upset with your bus’y-ness. You are so right in your story and when you say to “take time and smell the flowers,” reminds me of the local Bishop (Mt. Tepeyac) asked Juan Diego for a sign from our Blessed Mother that she appeared to him. Our BVM gave him flowers in his cloak which turned into her beautiful image of Our Lady of Guadulaupe. So flowers do remind us of Christmas and our love of our Lord, Jesus Christ. And, by slowing down, smelling the flowers around us, and remembering that all good things do come to those who wait, we will all have a wonderful loving Christmas with our dear friends and family. God bless you, Ms. Sharon. I love you! Mamma.

    • Sharon Lape

      Thanks, Mom! I’ll try not to be so rushed anymore! Operative word is: “try.” haha. Love you, too Mom!

  • Jmtheboat

    My brother is 13 years younger than I and my sister 15 years younger. When they were toddlers I found myself being very anxious for them to grow up so we could be friends and have dynamic relationships. Now they are grown and have children of their own.

    When I was a teenager I had the ‘born again’ experience in our Baptist Church. The Holy Spirit encounter is not a thing to be denied. It’s rather difficult to explain as well. I soon found myself, within the context of the Baptist faith, in a waiting game: waiting for the future Glory of the Lord’s return when we will be given our new bodies. Oddly this led to postponing living fully now for the promise of a future fullness. I state this without any judgement but from my own experience.

    I grew up dreaming of becoming an actor. It was all I could think about. I was one of the fringe kids who never got involved in sports or school activities except for our senior play. That’s when I found my moment. I remember my own inner dialogue in those long stretched out years of growing up: “someday I’ll get a chance when I become an actor”. I did a lot of day dreaming and waiting as a kid.

    Becoming an actor and moving into a contemplative/liturgical faith practice both led me closer to being more fully present in life. This is now. It doesn’t happen in any other way in any other time. In all my relationships I work to find moments to become very still and soak in the presence of whomever I’m with. The Sacrament of the present moment. The Gift of the present moment. This is also the corner stone of acting: connecting.

    Forgive me for talking about myself. I wanted to share this reflection during this lenten season because I feel that we all have these areas of life where we aren’t being fully present. If we can pass on to our children the importance of engaging life does this not bring them closer to grasping the concept of being present to the Kingdom of God?

    Grace and Peace be with you.

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