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Isn’t funny how much time we spend waiting in lines? From the McDonald’s drive-through to Disney World vacations, we live in a time and place where waiting in lines is currency. Yet, as a culture surrounded by waiting, we are awful at waiting.
Immediacy infatuates us.
Instant knowledge at the click of a mouse permeates our days.
Rapid telecommunication enables our living.
And let’s not forget about Sunday drivers.
We reject the friend we have in waiting.
And somehow, inescapable moments of waiting compose the nature of our existence.
We never really experience the present in a way that we can comprehend and place our fingertips upon. We cannot say “There it is!” or “Here I am” without retreating into the past. We love thinking life presents itself in the present, but everything we see, taste, touch, smell, and ingest flickers away all too quickly.
Our waiting–our moments of expectation, hope, and desire–paradoxically substantiate more concretely than attempts to grasp the present.
I think this is why we like adventure.
When we travel to a new place or eat something strange or meet a person that doesn’t have a southern drawl or when something unexpected occurs, it explicitly removes us from the reality we were convinced by and invites us into the unfamiliar, all the while our minds are desperately trying to somehow connect the unfamiliar to the familiar we were previously submerged in. Our brains lust after the familiar, even if it resides in the unknown.
Perhaps we like adventure because it is the marriage of familiarity and ignorance, because it is a way of tangibly decreasing the time between us and what is to come.
What is adventure besides waiting in action?
The Christian Church has a rich season in the calendar called Advent. Initially, this season was meant to function as a way for us to engage in a time of waiting–of waiting for the coming of the messiah.
Rather than the messiah being a plump, jolly fellow clothed in red, the messiah we wait for is an unexpected one. The messiah comes as a dependent child born of a young girl struggling to find a place to rest her head. The messiah personifies the unfamiliar. And this is the one for whom we wait.
Yes! Advent is an adventure–it is a waiting for that which is to come. But what, or who, is to come is mysterious, unpredictable, and always surprising.
How we wait is solely up to us.
We may resist waiting–we can reject the advent(ure).
Or, we may take a risk and invite that which is to come–we can embark on the adventure. We can say “Yes! Come!” to the adventure before us and in so doing, we may discover ourselves becoming just a bit more human.