I've been working the midnight shift at the daycare--yes, it's open 24 hours a day. This is chaos on my sleep schedule, which is always suspect in the winter. All my rhytmns are off right now, hence the scant postings. I went to work last night and the house was an absolute wreck. When I returned home--will wonders cease?--it was still a disaster area. Will you believe the living Christmas tree, which is three feettall tops, is still undecorated, save for a little red bird and a single gold bulb? Aziza, no doubt the person who adorned the tree with these, is not good at waiting, Advent or no.
After Sunday dinner with our beloved community, I came home. I have to admit, the marriage problems are weighing heavy on me today. The lack of my beloved--small "b"--left me unspeakably sad. When I stepped into my messy living room, the Ken-shaped loneliness expanded until it engulfed me; it swallowed me whole. To keep the tears at bay, I started cleaning up the house.
I vacuumed the carpet. I put the decorations beside the living tree, and gave it a tall drink of water. I straightened the curtain rod, and righted the leopard print sheers. I fluffed the pillows on the red sofa. I did not work any soul miracles, but in some small way I felt better. Then, as it often does, my heart and mind went to Jesus, and waiting for him. I am waiting for him in so many ways. I simply do not know what to do in some important areas in my life, and I am especially baffled as to how to deal with this ache that feels unbearable today.
It is the fourth week of Advent, the Golden Nights before Christmas eve, in which the O Antiphons are sung. These prayers, beginning on December 17, all commence with "O", and address Jesus by a different title. They create the acrostic, S A R C O R E, which viewed backward reads Ero Cras, Latin for "Tomorrow, I come."
I am waiting for that tomorrow, which is so close, but today feels ages away. I am cleaning up my house to prepare a place to receive Christ. I don't just mean my physical house, the little, yellow, Sunshine Abbey on Old Georgetown Street. I mean the house, as shabby an unkempt as it is, that is my grief-heavied soul.
On this fourth Sunday of Advent, in the Anglican Communion, today's collect speaks poignantly to me:
"Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son, Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever." Lauren Winner, who wrote the forward to the Paraclete Press, wonderful little Advent book by Paula Gooden, THE MEANING IS IN THE WAITING, wrote simply in response to this collect, "I want to be a mansion." Me, too, Lauren. I am just a little shack, but I want to be a mansion with all my heart.
Come, Lord Jesus. Make haste to help me.