I'm so very grateful for stories. I love holding onto them. I love hearing them from others. I love the fact that I'm held in a greater story. All of these comfort me and bring me balance.
I'm grateful when somebody is telling me about something and then say “it's like the time we …” In that moment we are both remembering a shared past. The teller is inviting me in to what has been going on before. And it's shared. It's a reminder of one truth, always true: you're not alone.
The hopeful thing for me about many stories is when they remind me of beginnings, middles and endings. AND through the years I have learned that many endings move into beginnings and something new starts. AND all the while, these stories are a part of a greater tapestry.
Now in this season of Advent, we are waiting. In these growing darker December days, we are waiting. This Advent-waiting is a special kind of waiting. And every year as it comes around again, it feels that it arrives at just the right time.
Advent-waiting is accompanied by expectations. Advent-waiting has no particular or clear picture of what will be. Advent-waiting holds hope in it.
As this Advent season begins, I feel the tenderness of this hope my heart holds. We all have been living in tender days these days. More often than not we are startled with the violence we humans do to one another. Places that have held images of laughter and light, now appear on our screens with overturned tables and chairs, sounds of sirens. Jerusalem. Nairobi. Newtown. Paris. Mali. San Bernardino.
In many ways my story weaves in and through yours. Your pain imprints upon my heart. Hope dwells in our interconnection.
Do you remember that old Coke commercial that showed people holding hands for miles and miles further than we could see, while “I’d like to teach the world to sing” plays in the background? Hope, the waiting-for-something that will renew and restore our collective spirits, begins again for us in these Advent days.
It’s like the time we … were walking and we thought for sure we were lost, and just when we thought we’d give up, we saw a light in the window up on the road a bit. And we knew we could walk on …. and we did. And here we are....in these Advent days.
Working as a Hospice Chaplain, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.