"We must be patient." - Ophelia, Hamlet
Yesterday was the Third Sunday of Advent, which is also called Gaudete Sunday.
On Gaudete Sunday, there is a brief hiatus from the violet or blue coloured vestments (cloths covering the altar and the robes that the priests wear), and everything shifts, for this one Sunday to rose or pink coloured vestments.
(There has to be a word for people who love liturgy and liturgical practices; I think I should invent that word: Liturgiaphilia.)
Also, in the wreath of Advent candles there is one pink candle amid the three, dark purple ones, and it gets lit on this day. It stands out, in all its wonderful pinkness to symbolize joyful and exuberant expectation. Gaude meaning “rejoice” in Latin.
I always loved Gaudete Sunday at St. Luke’s: the altar bedecked with giant vases full of pink roses, and heavenly smell of the incense, rose mingled with frankincense…
The message of Gaudete Sunday, using very venacular language, is: “Calm down. Relax. It’s all good.”
I have never been a patient person, and I hate to wait for anything. Period. I want things to happen when I want them to happen.
“Not now,” is a message I have never received with ease. And lately, that message seems to dog my every step. Most trying of which has been the probable miscarriage that occurred last month, which I am only now able to put into words. Clearly the message from the universe is: “Not yet.”
I have always been a firm believer in a God much bigger and better than myself, and One who loves and cares for us completely. It’s just God’s sense of narrative and pacing that have often given me cause for concern.
I find myself thinking – often aloud – “You know, God, if this particular thing (job opportunity, baby, house, agent, book deal, &etc…) could just happen at such-and-such time, that would be truly poetic, and would have such a lovely sense of narrative.”
(That’s me, talking to God, one writer to another.)
But does God listen? Well, yes, I’m sure God does listen. But God, ever the divine, independent, creative (and creating) Thinker, has God’s own sense of narrative and timing.
Our job is one of watching and waiting, but we are meant watch and wait without a sense of anxiety, but in a spirit of hopeful expectation. That’s the part I need to work on. Anxiety? I’ve got that down like a pro!
Oddly, pop culture seems to have offered some timely and topical suggestions in this regard. I’m not proud of the fact that the DEB and I recently succumbed to watching the final two episodes of “The X-Factor” – Cheryl Cole gives me hives – but last night the lyrics of the Joe McElderry’s victory tune had an appropriate resonance:
I can almost see it
That dream I’m dreaming but
There’s a voice inside my head sayin,
You’ll never reach it,
Every step I’m taking,
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking but I
Got to keep trying
Got to keep my head held high
There’s always going to be another mountain
I’m always going to want to make it move
Always going to be an uphill battle,
Sometimes I'm going to have to lose,
Ain’t about how fast I get there,
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s about the climb
Shortly after the glittery confetti settled on Joe McElderry, ITV featured a programme chronicling the improbable and meteoric rise of the incredible Susan Boyle.
What a story!
For over 23 years, Boyle dreamed of being a singer. She defied the odds and every expectation the world could possibly throw at her. How wonderfully refreshing to see someone achieving greatness through sheer force of will, determination and talent.
Forgive my cynicism, but frankly, there is not much talent about these days. There is a great deal of “notoriety” on offer these days, if you have the right boobs, the right face and the right publicist. As such, Susan Boyle is a much-needed tonic in this day and age.
Amanda Holden – who also gives me hives – mused, “Americans love Susan Boyle, because it’s a land where they still believe in dreams.” I much as I hate the thought of giving Amanda Holden credit for anything, I must say that she had a point there. America is a nation of dreamers. The American narrative itself is/was an impossible dream.
The message of Gaudete Sunday seems to be, from both the religious and secular realms: “Never stop dreaming.”
The other piece of advice in the Gaudete Sunday message is: "Rejoice." Rejoicing in the now. Learning to be content with what you have, while at the same time being hopeful for the future.
I refuse to let anxiety win and turn this joyous, holiday season into a “winter of discontent.”
Not now? Fine. Rejoice now, instead.