One of the friends starts retreating to a corner, his head bowed, muttering to himself and staring blankly at the wall. In a few weeks he will have shrunk into a shell, refusing to eat or drink and slowly wither away. The second spends most of the time pacing up and down the cabin floor, glancing out the window, opening the door and taking a step or two into the snow before returning to the cabin. One morning the anxiety grows too great. Grabbing his backpack and stuffing it full of all the food he can fit in, he'll make a bolt through the door, out into the frozen landscape. The third...
How do we stay hopeful and healthy while we're waiting? My middle daughter said to me yesterday-you can only hold your breath for so long. After that, you need to make the choice to live the fullest life you can where you are.
When the Israelites are exiled to Babylon, Jeremiah sends them a letter. In it, they are told to settle down, to build houses, to plant gardens, to marry and prosper. This directive sets up a verse that may be familiar: "I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to bless you and not to curse you, plans to give you a hope and a future". (Jeremiah 29:11)
Creativity, the act of making or doing, is a necessary part of patience that comes from the Spirit. Just as faith without works is dead, patience without action will lead to lethargy and despair. There is always something to do while you wait - the work is to find what nurtures your soul, or what disciplines God may want to instill in you. In this season of in-between, I have a choice of holding my breath or breathing a new rhythm. To become listless or grow a new muscle. I choose to prosper, to settle, to plant myself in the moment and feed myself from the fruit that grows in this soil. To live now. Well.