Someone waiting for you
I received a message today from a good and faithful friend that arrested me with its truth, vulnerability, and bluntness – my friend said that he was struggling with trust, and he knew he wasn’t alone.
Social upheaval, economic uncertainty, racial division and inequality, political deception, climate crisis…it’s hard to know whom to trust in this environment, and the result is anxiety, restlessness, and depression.
I think this is one of the reasons I have found the experience of group contemplative practice so helpful: there is something trustworthy in the shared experience of silence, stillness, and surrender. I do not believe contemplative practice is an escape. Rather, it feels more like a return home.
In fact, my experience is that practicing stillness and silence with others gives fresh meaning to something Ram Daas said: “We’re all just walking each other home.”
My friend included with his message a short passage by the theologian Jurgen Moltmann:
The ultimate reason for our hope is not to be found at all in what we want, wish for and wait for; the ultimate reason is that we are wanted and wished for and waited for. What is it that awaits us? Does anything await us at all, or are we alone? Whenever we base our hope on trust in the divine mystery, we feel deep down in our hearts: there is someone who is waiting for you, who is hoping for you, who believes in you. We are waited for as the prodigal son in the parable is waited for by his father. We are accepted and received, as a mother takes her children into her arms and comforts them. God is our last hope because we are God's first love.
The Source of Life: The Holy Spirit and the Theology of Life
A verse from Isaiah serves as the core for a beloved collect in our Book of Common Prayer: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15) Remarkably, just a few verses later, the prophet continues: “The Lord waits to be gracious to you.”
As Moltmann says, “There is someone who is waiting for you, who is hoping for you, who believes in you.” I hope you believe that. I hope you have felt or experienced something like that. Because that belief and that experience can inspire a trust that seems so elusive these days.
Still, I love what Emily Dickinson said about believing: “We both believe and disbelieve a hundred times an hour, which keeps believing nimble.” In today’s chaotic environment, something resonates about “believing and disbelieving a hundred times an hour.” And I think this is what keeps me returning to the simplicity of group contemplative practice; to the communal desire I sense in our time together, through silence and stillness, to walk each other home again; and to the promise that someone whom we can trust is indeed is waiting for us, hoping for us, and believing in us.