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What Are You Waiting For?

'New York after Hurricane Sandy' photo (c) 2012, André-Pierre du Plessis - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

[Editor's note: This Advent season, we will be running a series of reflections on the Bread Blog from the San Francisco Theological Seminary. The reading for this post is Psalm 130. Keep reading Bread Blog for more Advent reflections.]

By Nicole Trotter

We've been receiving the New York Times daily for years. It's one way that I stay connected to home. Despite living in the Bay Area longer than I lived there—unless someone on this coast learns to make a bagel or a slice of pizza—New York will always be home. Until Giants fans learn to stand up and get in each other's way while the batter is still in the box, and treat the space like a ballpark instead of an opera, New York will always be home.

My hometown is suffering. I see it every day in the paper. While many continue to wait for shelter, wait for water, and wait for electricity, my teenagers have to be reminded what "Sandy" was while they wait for me to drive them somewhere.

Waiting has come to be known as patience. Patience elicits images of a quiet girl sitting with hands politely clasped, or the Dalai Lama. But when we need something, we participate in getting it. The world has never been changed through passive waiting. The world changes through relentless trouble makers who "cry from the depths" and keep their eyes wide open at night "like a sentry waits for dawn."

The psalmist was a New Yorker, I'm convinced. He doesn't politely ask for what he needs, he practically demands it. "Hear my voice!" He will wait. But not in the sense we usually think. He will wait, with full awareness, awake, in darkness, because he's sure the dawn will come. Make no mistake, he can't muscle or will the morning's light. None of us can. But we can actively participate in waiting for it. Because if we don't, we may fall asleep and miss the sunrise, we might find ourselves one day asking, "What was Sandy?" We may forget to change anything, to hope for anything passionately. What's more, we may forget that to hope requires something from us, something resembling a relentless troublemaker "crying out from the depths." When we need something desperately, hope consumes us with a God given passion so big that it cannot and should not be politely contained.

Nicole Trotter is a master of divinity student at San Francisco Theological Seminary. 

 

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