Hurry Up and Wait

       My mother had an expression when we were growing up: "hurry up and wait". She always told us it was an old military expression. But it seemed aptly applied in our busy household. There were always some of us more ready that the rest to head out for whatever it was we were doing. Or worse yet, we were ready, but the event or activity hadn't arrived yet. The car is packed and ready to go on one of our memorable picnics at Eagle Point Park overlooking the Mississippi River, but we're waiting for someone to finish whatever it is that's more important than getting on the road! When you are young and not in charge of the schedule or the calendar of events, there comes with it that element of frustration; the "hurry up and wait" factor. In many ways it is the same feeling I have about March: the waiting for the end of winter, the waiting for spring break and the waiting through the season of Lent. This winter has certainly intensified the wait for the change of seasons. Lots of gray days and too much cold and ice can make the yearning for the spring blossoms even more acute. The long school session since our Christmas break heightens the anticipation of spring break.
       March is the season of Lent and an additional time of waiting. Rather that just the hurry up and wait approach, it is an opportunity to take stock of where we are on our spiritual journey, to reflect on the ways we celebrate God's love in our lives. Then coming together on Easter Sunday, celebrate the greatest gift of all; the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For as much as we anticipate the change of seasons and the impending spring break, my hope is that the season of Lent offers the same sort of excited anticipation. The children in the Church School program took home mite boxes with a calendar to mark each day of Lent. The suggestions for the number of coins the children should put in the box are opportunities for reflection: to realize how much they have been given and to mindful of the needs of others. On March 21st, the calendar says to put 2 coins in the mite box if you live in a house, condo or apartment. This seemed like such an odd statement to all of the students except Ginny. She said it reminds her of the story of Mary and Joseph looking for a place to stay in Bethlehem. There was no room for them anywhere. And she said there are still homeless people today so we shouldn't take it for granted that we have a house or condo or apartment to live in. What a thoughtful reflection. My hope is that as we go through the days of March and count them down on our calendars, whether it is the Lenten calendar or the school calendar that is counting the days to spring break, that instead of the "hurry up" approach, we take a lesson from Ginny.