28 November 2009

Hurry up and get here already!

I'm not one for patient waiting. It's not that I lack patience. Mostly I lack the ability to remember just what I'm waiting for. Life gets in the way. Things happen. I get distracted.

Right before Thanksgiving, I got a letter in the mail from Seattle University. Inside was a copy of the question I was asking in the fall of 2008 as I began a program in Pastoral Leadership. I read through it, wondered about the woman I was back then, and went on to the rest of the mail. The question: "What am I really hungering for?" Later that morphed into, "What if God isn't?" It wasn't a crisis of faith, just a question that had to be out on the table, under consideration.

You know my answer? Eh!

There were grieving people to comfort. There were celebrations with guys who passed a section of their GED. There were families to find. There were conspiracies and grade-school drama all year long. There was a job situation that ended up being so strange I'm still befuddled. Bottom line: there's still the rumbling activity of the Divine afoot in the world and I've got work to do.

Advent in prison--where waiting is an art form unto itself.

Some people sit in county jail, waiting to go to court. If convicted, they wait to be sentenced. Then they get sent to our place.

Once they arrive here, more waiting. At least everyone here has been convicted, or agreed to a plea. (I'm not saying everyone is actually guilty, but when they get off the bus, it's because there are orders from a judge back in the county saying the state has to take responsibility for them.)

Now a new kind of waiting: waiting to get tested and classified, waiting for the physical and dental exams, waiting for the psych eval and the school assessment. If he's in Unit 1 or 3, he's waiting to go to Unit 4 or 5. Waiting for mail. Waiting for a visit. Then waiting for an actual contact visit, but that has to wait til he's in another unit. Waiting for his access code to the phones. Waiting for the delivery from inmate store. Waiting for the Saturday movie, for the rain to stop so he can go to yard, for someone to get off the phone so he can try again to reach the phone that doesn't accept collect calls.

Mostly waiting to go to another institution, to get out of the grey or orange jumpsuits.

The holidays roll around and waiting gets physical. Fights happen more often, vicious words get said.

In church we talk about the reign of God and all anyone wants is a key to the front gate. Please.

It's easy to forget what we're waiting for. Too easy.

I don't believe in waiting for the reign of God. I think Jesus was right. It's already here. Maybe God's just waiting for me to notice.

1 comment:

Teresa said...

Shannon, I am so moved by your Advent comparison to all the waiting that inmates have to do. I have worked with a young man thru the years in and out of trouble. My husband said I should write a book about the red tape and issues, we went thru them all. Dustin has made it now but I remember the faces of all the other young men I saw "waiting".
May God bless your ministry.