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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Advent: Waiting is

Patience (1540 Engraving) 
There is something within all of us that feels like a "stranger within a strange land."

This phrase, originally attributed to Moses in Exodus 2:22 (KJV), was also popularized by author Robert Heinlein in his book by the same title.  According to Wikipedia, this science-fiction 1960s "cult classic" tells the story of "a human who comes to Earth in early adulthood after being born on the planet Mars and raised by Martians."  This
protagonist, Valentine Michael Smith, is therefore in a position to experience Earth's culture from a somewhat alien perspective.

In negotiating his way through terrestrial life, Smith relies heavily upon Martian "theology."  The essence of Martian life is the hope to one day "grok in fullness."  To "grok in fullness" seems somewhat analogous to terrestrial visions of "enlightenment" or "nirvana."  There is also a Martian emphasis upon the here and now; therefore, Martians don't wait for this fullness, they simply wait.  Thus the famous Heinlein saying:  Waiting is…

Some of this Heinlein-type waiting could certainly apply to Advent.  Whereas Advent is all too often associated with an expectant form of waiting, it – like Lent – might better be honored through an in-depth practice of treasuring the stillness.  The Zen-like phrase "Don't just do something, stand there" can also assist an Advent practitioner to more fully appreciate the long dark silent nights.  


Copyright December 6, 2012 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved 

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