If God is making You wait,He has reasons!

Last week, I gave an Advent Recollection to Assumption HS Class ’62. The theme of the recollection was “waiting.” One of the points I shared was from the homily of Fr. James P. Donelan, SJ, “The Sacrament of Waiting.”

Donelan wrote, “What do we lose when we refuse to wait… when we try to find shortcuts through life? We lose the hope of truly loving or of being loved. Waiting is part of the substance, the basic fabric against which the story of that true love is written. How can we ever find either life or true love if we are too impatient to wait for it?”

In the group-sharing that followed, it was an overwhelming experience to hear all the stories of journeys of waiting: One woman raised her children as a single parent and now finds consolation seeing how well they turned out; another woman, who lost her entire family in 1980 in the sinking of the M/S Don Juan, finds peace in her “solitary life”; the story of one husband’s dream as a seven-year-old boy and how this dream has turned into a world-class enterprise, putting the Philippines on the map in its field.

In God’s time

One could feel the whole group resonating with their classmates’ stories, each mulling their own experiences of waiting and how, at the right moment—in God’s time—everything falls into place. Not just neatly, but elegantly—an elegance that is caused only by grace.

These are ladies who are completing their seventh decade of life and who made sense of things difficult to fathom after three, four or five decades; discovering the wisdom and grace of life; or growing into these through waiting.

“It is good to wait in silence for the Lord to rescue.” (Lamentations 3:26)

On the same day, I caught up with the premiere of Kim Chiu and Xian Lim’s latest movie. I don’t usually go to the post-premiere cast and crew dinners, much less the after-dinner parties, but that night I attended both, with a wake in between.

I ended up going home at 4:30 a.m. not so much because of partying, but due to the spiritual conversation I had with some good friends among the movie’s cast and crew. We shared deeply our respective journeys, years of making sense out of the moments, the events, the patterns and themes in the journey. Indeed we shared common patterns, recurring themes and how one of them was waiting.

Waiting when the easier thing to do was walk away and call it quits; waiting when one was not sure if it made any sense at all; waiting when everyone else had gone and tells you to go; waiting not because one has no choice, but because one chooses to wait.

Waiting despite the odds

Another recurring theme was what one experienced as a setback, as a trauma or tragedy would, in time, evolve into a blessing or grace. It is akin to what Fr. Anthony de Mello, SJ, wrote: “Be grateful for your sins, they are carriers of grace.”

It resonates with what is proclaimed in the Easter Exultet, “O truly necessary sin of Adam… O happy fault that earned for us so great, so glorious a Redeemer!”

All these are fruits of waiting, the natural ability to hold on to something, to hope which empowers one to wait against all logic and odds.

One woman in the group talked about a childhood trauma and how, as she grew up, she seemed to have left it behind, not allowing it to weigh her down. But then again, we talked about every moment, every experience in our life—good or bad, joyful or traumatic—as a slender thread that is needed and will be a part of the whole, the magnificent tapestry of our life story, the story of our journey.

In God’s time, he pulls together the slender threads of our life and everything makes sense and adds to the beauty of the tapestry. Life becomes meaningful and everything comes together with the elegance of grace.

Being human

As I drove home and continued to go through the stories and the insights shared, the waiting of the Cross jumped out at me. It is the quintessential waiting.

This was occasioned by a comment, half in jest, I made during the conversation that sometimes you want to tell someone pointblank: “You are my cross!” But as the journey becomes simpler and clearer, one’s Cross is also one’s Resurrection.

I recalled what our Philosophy of Religion said as we were discussing French philosopher Gabriel Marcel’s phenomenology of hope. As Christ was dying on the Cross, being fully human, a part of him was in extreme agony to the point of despair, but holding on to the hope that his Father will raise him up. It had never happened until it happened to him.

Those three days in the tomb were moments of waiting that transform all our waiting. Christ was absolutely powerless in death and could only “wait in silence for the Lord to rescue.”

The three days were an eternity of waiting, and out of it burst forth eternity itself.

The final story to share on waiting is Dingdong Dantes’ journey. Two and a half months ago I reflected on his journey from his fourth year high school student days in Ateneo to his early days as an artist starting with a dance group, his slow rise to the top, his being at the top of his game now, both in his acting career and as an advocate and public servant, and of course his future marriage.

In a previous article I mentioned that “his career is an inspiring story of perseverance” and “quite a remarkable track record.” It is a story of waiting—the remarkable story of discovering the wisdom and grace of life, or growing into these through waiting.

Waiting is the invitation and grace of Advent, to wait for the Lord to come. In waiting we discover and live out the hope of truly loving or of being loved. In waiting, we will rediscover the Child in the Manger.

When we wait more, we re-discover the Child in the Manger of our heart and soul.

Shared with you by Fr. Tito Calvag