in the waiting

It is on days like today, when we are asked to wait — in the Holy Saturdays of our lives — that I feel restless.

Typically, I am extraordinarily good at waiting. I find a good book, snuggle into my chair, and let the hours pass as I enter into worlds and lives that are not my own. But on this day, a day when our church calendar tells us we must wait, I don’t want to. I want to move, to get through this day of uncertainty and run joyously into Easter.

Yet, much of our life is spent in exactly these moments.

We experience pain through death: of a loved one, of a job, of a dream, or simply a change in our lives. So many times we want to rush through that pain and experience the joy and the happiness and the love to come, but there is no rushing Easter. There is no rushing the rising.

In between the death and the resurrection is Holy Saturday. In our church calendar it is only one day. In our lives, it is so much more.

The waiting is life, so in this in-between time, we listen, we learn, we love, and we let go. We let go of expectations of how we think our lives should be and learn to lean into our lives as they are. The waiting are the moments that teach us how to live.

And once we know how to live, once we’ve let the pain pierce our hearts and guide us forward, Easter arrives, unexpectedly full of joy.

This Holy Saturday, I’m doing what I always do in my restlessness, I let the questions I’ve been pushing aside in my busyness take root in my head and in my heart.

Are you using your gifts?
Are you listening to God?
Are you loving with your whole heart?
Can you do more?

Of course, every single day, the answer to all of these questions is Yes. And No.

Both/And. Which is often the answer in all that we do.

But on this Holiest of Saturdays, those answers do not seem enough. I need lists and plans and assurances. I need to know what is next. It is on this day that God smiles down on me and says, don’t rush, my dear, my time is my time.

And so I wait.

The Butterfly

Not too fast, not too fast,
Let it grow, let it last,
Nature knows when and why…the butterfly.

I remember one morning when I saw a cocoon in the bark of a tree,
I remember I marveled that imprisoned inside was a butterfly waiting to be free.

I was very impatient so I warmed the cocoon with the breath of my sighs,
And the butterfly trembled and began to emerge like a miracle right before my eyes.

All at once I discovered that its delicate wings were all crumpled and torn,
When he still wasn’t ready I had made him be born.
I was stronger than nature and I had made him be born.

But the wonder of life had a definite plan,
So he died in my hand by the will, not of God, but of man.

Not too fast, not too fast,
Every one has a moment and I’m waiting for mine,
When I’m finally free.
But I mustn’t be hurried.
Give me light…give me time.
Like the butterfly…like the butterfly…

Not too fast, not too fast,
Let me grow, let me last.
Nature knows when and why…like the butterfly.

by Sister Therese Even, SSND

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