Waiting To See Who Is Here
I think I will begin this Advent devotional by saying in honor of Thanksgiving (just passed), "I am grateful for Advent." (Just getting started)
Considering this devotional for the past couple of weeks, I awoke one night and couldn't get back to sleep--a mark of maturity:) I thought of Advent and the word so associated with this season, Waiting. Last year I used Tom Petty's lyrics, 'the waiting is the hardest part'. But this night a different notion emerged. I thought about the waiting I was privileged to experience while helping my parents one weekend recently.
My dad has Lewy-Body Dementia. Unlike Alzheimer's, he does not lose memory so much. His symptoms include: hallucinations, agitated sleep, cognitive decline, shuffling walk and more. He had surgery and there were complications and so he and mom were at the hospital two days longer than expected. Mom slept there literally sitting right next to dad's bed to hold his thrashing arms all through the night. Her exhaustion was immense.
The first night home, I took the night shift. Mom and dad went to bed by 7:30 and I read in a chaise lounge-type chair across the room. By eleven, dad was up and needing to 'walk the halls', checking on things, it appeared to me, but I really have no idea what he was thinking. I simply accompanied him. Waited to see what he needed, where he needed to go. Zero agenda on my part, except to be there at his side. I tucked him back in and at 1 a.m. and then 2:30 a.m., the same routine.
What helps me as I watch this remarkable soul slowly decline, are words an Alzheimer specialist shared with Saint Andrew Christian Church about a year ago.(Thank you Adult Ed!) She said one must allow the person we love to be. In Zen-like fashion, we must not 'expect' that they will be like yesterday or last week or better or worse because we might miss a lucid moment, a glimpse of that person we know from before this diagnosis.
I say all this because as we enter this equally important time of preparation and waiting for Christ in our midst, can we suspend our view of this holiday or turn our vision just a hair to 'see' something anew? It may be that we recognize we do have the ability to change our view of things so that we experience a little more peace, a little less agitation, an inch more of compassion and self forgiveness. When we see the manger scene, can we 'be' with this holy family that has us in its view and sees us as holy people too, vulnerable like the Christ-child yet mighty in ways the world will not see because its expectations are too quick to judge and dismiss. Let us wait to see who is here. Let us see ourselves anew in vulnerable and mighty ways so that like our brother, our Savior, we can bear light to the nations and good news to those in need.
So, SACC, I am full of gratitude for you and am awaiting our next meeting.
Coco and her husband Pat have two boys, Pete and Joe. They have been members of Saint Andrew for six years.