We may all be familiar with Advent, the time in the Christian church yearly theatre, when we’re encouraged to wait… to wait upon the arrival of the birth of the human embodiment of God in Jesus, the Christ. The four Sabbaths in Advent represent sequentially: hope, peace, joy and finally love.
Now as we know, the thing about theatre, or a play of any sort and let’s take Shakespeare as an example, is that over centuries the actors change, directors even modernise the backdrops and costumes… but the story lines delivered by the actors remain as first written. Who is going to be brave enough to change the line ‘To be or not to be, that is the question’?
This repetitiveness may give rise to being mesmerised by theatre, inspired by it, empowered even, and perhaps also made a little sleepy… So, what could support us to awaken?
And awaken to what?… To remembering that this is theatre. It is the replaying of a story, be it real or created… To remember that if we get lost in the story alone, we may miss the point, miss the moment when the play stops being theatre, and actually points to a reality that is true right here in this very moment… ‘the finger pointing at the moon’…
And it’s this re-membering we all need support with, we need each other for… To wake up, and realise we’re not actors in our own lives, or in each other’s lives – we’re intimately present in this life, always have been, always will be… there is no need to wait… We don’t need to re-turn to the script, and ‘press repeat’ like actors learning their lines.
That which the Advent play reminds us to wait for has arrived… God-incarnate, as human, as us… It didn’t even need to arrive – it always was in the first moment of existence, and within the eternal, infinite non-existence too…
After several years of contemplative practicing, we may easily grasp this intellectually and we may have begun to feel it in our Being self, beneath the intellectual self… And, we always need re-minding not to get lost in the story the play is telling, but to wake up as Jesus did, and know and live it for ourselves, and of course, live it for and with others too.
So shall we try rewriting the script of the Advent story from a different perspective… not as a past event reminding us to wait for an arrival to come. Let’s make it a Live Event – could that be shortened to Livent… We shortly enter the season of Livent! I like this season already!
Let’s play with this… the four Sabbaths could sequentially be the: welcome mat, surrender pose, linked embrace and finally together naked at the doorless door of life…
Who knows, looks like the curtains are opening, here is a wee poem until the first Sabbath…
I am no longer waiting by Mary Anne Perrone (slightly adapted)
I am no longer waiting for a special occasion; I burn the best candles on ordinary days.
I am no longer waiting for the house to be clean; I fill it with people who understand that even dust is Sacred.
I am no longer waiting for everyone to understand me; it’s just not their task.
I am no longer waiting for the other shoe to drop; It already did, and I survived.
I am no longer waiting for the time to be right; the time is always now.
I am no longer waiting for the mate who will complete me; I am grateful to be so warmly, tenderly held.
I am no longer waiting for a quiet moment; my heart can be stilled whenever it is called.
I am no longer waiting for the world to be at peace; I unclench my grasp and breathe peace in and out.
I am no longer waiting to do something great; being awake to carry my grain of sand is enough.
I am no longer waiting to be recognised; I know that I dance in a holy circle.
I am no longer waiting for forgiveness; I forgive, I forgive.
I live in the belly of unknowing and I no longer wait.