Son Sam’s time in Decatur High School’s marching band has taught him – and so, us – a lot about marking time.
As a mellophone player in the band Sam has to learn and memorize his music – and that’s only the beginning. Next comes the marching. A lot of that is moving from one place to the next. Lock-step. In rhythm and in time. It's an amazing thing to see, there appears to be a "combined knowing." As I’ve gotten to watch the practices as well as the halftime shows, I’ve become aware of how much of the show is also spent marking time. This time of not moving, and at the same time not standing still. Always connected, always paying attention and anticipating, always being ready to step into what is next.
And that can be said for these Advent days.
Waiting is counter-cultural to the fast-paced tempo of our days. These days we are expected to know and respond instantaneously to our world as well as our own personal events. News, good and bad is delivered immediately – and too often our hearts are left with no time to comprehend or process or even begin to feel. Our days are packed with little or no time to stop and catch our collective breath. In this non-stop time, how are we then to wait?
Perhaps it is most important in these busy-running-around-being-busy-running-around-being-busy days that we be mindful of our waiting. Each year we are given the gift of these Advent days. This year again we are given the intentional time of meaning-making. Even in this season of not yet, we are here, now, in this moment, in this place. Look around, look around....This time that feels so much like marking time is not to be overlooked, not to be wasted. Just like Sam and his marching band, we are to remain connected, we are to pay attention and anticipate, and always be ready to take our next steps. These can be our time of making room, time of preparing.
As I’ve watched Sam participate in the marching band, I’ve been aware of how connected he is. For that measured, focused, intentional time his total self – mind, body and spirit – is connected to the leader, to the music, to moment that holds them. Sam and each member are breathing, playing, moving as one. Even when, especially when appearing to be waiting in place, marking time each member is focused on what is next. Watching them I am aware of an energy and focus that is forward, moving forward. Together. The director will lead, the music will hold them. Left foot, right foot.