It’s been awhile since I thought about tarrying. Life presses and pulses. Phones ping with texts. Meanwhile, my TO DO list grows, as my time shrinks.
Still, God keeps showing up, beckoning me to be still and know that God is God. And that’s where tarrying comes in. Sure, it’s an old fashioned word but my soul, and maybe yours, longs to tarry, whatever that is.
As we enter the season of Lent, I’m grateful for the book we’re reading at Christ Church. Father Patrick’s book choices have a way of shepherding us, as we share and learn together.
So what are we reading? Tarry Awhile by Selina Stone. The book leads us into discovering “wisdom from black spirituality for people of faith.” Some of you know the Biblical source of her title. But I needed a reminder. Matthew 26:38 in the King James Version of the Bible provided the answer. Jesus takes Peter, James and John with him to the Garden of Gethsemane. Before Jesus goes off to pray, he asks these men to, “tarry ye here, and watch with me.”
For whatever reason, they didn’t tarry. They slept.
I like to think I’d have stayed awake but I know better. Sometimes I sleep to avoid thinking or acting. But Lent is a good time to learn to tarry. As the author wrote in her introduction: “Tarrying is important for all of us who live with desire, loss, weakness, temptation, frustration, disappointment and fear. It provides us with space…it allows us time to ponder the ways of God that are not our ways and our lives within the life of God. It can be uncomfortable, as it brings to the surface things we would rather not see.”(p.4)
When I read this, I thought of something Anne Lamott said, “It’s good to do uncomfortable things. It’s weight training for life.”
Well, I need wait training. I get antsy and impatient. But the author encourages me that good can come, “great treasures await us as we remain curious and open to finding God in the unfamiliar.” (p.5)
And so I pray, Jesus, help me to stay awake. I know me. Which is why I don’t want to miss finding you in the unfamiliar because I’m afraid to do uncomfortable things.
Lent nudges me to sign-up for wait training? And to learn what it means to tarry.
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