Waiting In The Dark. An Ash Wednesday Reflection

It is dark and lonely.

Waiting can be so terrible.

Waiting for relief. Waiting for no pain. Waiting for no more funerals; especially for young children. Waiting for no cancer. Waiting for no addiction. Waiting for all the bad to go away. Waiting for justice.

Waiting for that day when I don’t feel so torn between what is right and what feels good.

During the time of waiting, there is so much hurt. There is sin. There is pain. There is evil.

And then the ashes. “From dust you are, to dust you will return.”

All that is old will be made new. There is the hope for a rebirth. There is a resurrection.

Waiting is important. Waiting is necessary. Waiting is temporary.

Something else is coming. To dust we will return.

But then, something…else. Something new. I want that something.

But for now, it is terrible.

For now, it is dark and lonely.

I Hate Waiting

I hate waiting.

I started attending AA meeting in January of 2004. In February, when I picked up my 30 day chip, another person celebrated 16 years. I remember saying at that meeting, “I want to have 16 years sobriety.” And I really did. I didn’t want to be counting days, I wanted to be celebrating years. Only, I didn’t want to actually have to wait 16 years to get 16 years of sobriety.

So maybe it’s not a surprise that I relapsed a couple months later. I didn’t want to wait and I lost what I had.

I hate waiting.

When our middle child, our daughter, was born she had some difficulty breathing. They kept her in the nursery to take close care of her, but it was soon determined that she needed to go to another hospital that had a NICU. After five days there, they sent us home telling us we would know in two week what, if anything was wrong. In fact, there were three options: Hirschprung’s disease, Cystic Fibrosis, or nothing. Two weeks. We would have our answer. Two weeks passed. We did not receive a call. I did fine for those two weeks (really!). But the next six days were the longest of my life.

We did receive the call that nothing was wrong. I was at a minor league hockey game when I received the news. I don’t remember much of those six days. I just knew…

I hate waiting.

My oldest brother was sick. He had been for a while. But we knew that he was deteriorating. Another brother called me and told me to get up to see him soon. He lived in Maryland; I had been living in Texas for less than a year. I asked my brother, and later my father, if we were talking days or weeks. The answer was weeks. I checked my calendar. I picked a date. I called the airline. I booked my flight.

My brother, Robert, died a few weeks before my flight was scheduled. It may sound cliché, but I never got to say goodbye.

I hate waiting.


I want what I want and I want it now. I want everyone to agree with each other (but mostly me) without having the difficult conversations necessary. I want health without doctor’s visits and medicines and procedures and recovery. I want 10 years experience when I wake up tomorrow morning.

I want Jesus to come back so that I don’t have to put up with all the crap that is out there today.

And then Advent happens.

I read the Gospels of Matthew and Luke and I am reminded that when Jesus came the first time, it was not in the time, place, or manner the majority of people were expecting. Why would Jesus’ second coming be any different?

I hate waiting, yet Advent reminds me that is exactly what I am supposed to do: wait.

There is pain. There is sickness. There is doubt. There is struggle. There is death.


I am growing. I am learning. I am surviving. Some days, I am even thriving.


I want peace. I want reconciliation. I want restoration.


I want Jesus in this world.