The Waiting

“I said to my soul, be still, and 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 ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”

– From “East Coker”, No. 2 of The Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot

Having begun at last to make time to read Eliot’s Quartet, I came across the passage above in “East Coker”, a poem about life, death, and the continuity between the two. Perhaps it is more suited to a picture of a man or a woman looking across the horizon. Or a panoramic vista at twilight. But I immediately thought of a picture I took last Friday night while outside of town with my wife after we had dined out. It struck me as a sad scene of things left behind. Of a once-beloved playmate waiting eternally for a child’s return. He sits at the site of much play and imagination gazing forevermore out into the open fields beyond the treeline.

I admit that the line “wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought” seemed to fit Winnie the Pooh. That seems like something he would do. And knowing Pooh, once under the stars and the moonight, he’d still dance.

I thought of this tonight as I read a message from a friend describing some challenges placed upon her and her family’s plates. We all go through trials in this life. We all face medical or fiscal challenges for ourselves and our loved ones. Our first reactions are typically to worry ourselves sick or into a state of frenzy over things we cannot control. We feel alone and in the dark.

Stop. Be still. Pray or meditate. For me it’s a few verses from the Scriptures. Here are a few, for example.

The faith and the hope and the love are there in the waiting, not in the worrying. Things will get dark. But while God is typically associated with the light, he doesn’t just operate when the sun is up. He is there in the darkness, too.

So be still in the light and the dark. And don’t forget to dance now and then.

©2011 Jeff A Walker. All Rights Reserved.


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