I live by night. Something in me comes alive when walking in the dark by the sea. It sets me thinking - free of the distractions that teem in daylight. There's an ascent, a transcendence that happens here in this place at this time.
Waiting! God waiting patiently for me to change my ways and i wait impatiently for the consolation promised in the prophecy of Isaiah - not so much for myself just now but for all Who desperately need it's fulfilling, for the whole world that needs it. I am perhaps impatient for the fullness of Christ to be revealed. I would dearly love it. Dearly love to be ready for that moment!
My impatience nowadays is generally reserved for the computer in the Office that is impossibly slow. It used to be driving that threw me into a rage but I drive less now and do so with relative calm.
So, it's the computer I get mad with now, shout at it, say things that I shouldn't and am somehow diminished in the process.
It's a useless and futile impatience - except maybe it's a way of letting off steam. But there is a call to find an alternative, to prepare in my heart a place for something better, to prepare a way for Jesus to redeem whatever it is that makes me react as I do.
If the truth be told I'm impatient with myself for not being who and what I could be. Like Poirot in the recent version of 'Murder On The Orient Express' I see the world as it should be, not as it is. That's how I see myself and, though that might appear to be something of a curse, I see the blessing in it because it keeps me striving, moving.
Thankfully I have arrived at the wisdom of the addict, knowing that I cannot save myself. There is only One Saviour and it is for me to prepare a place for Him within myself, to clear away what I can of the interior clutter.
The Prophecy of Isaiah and John the Baptist; the Good News of Jesus is for our time, our society, our community and family. But it begins where all change, all justice, all peace begin - in every single human heart and soul and mind.
The clutter that needs to be cleared in me is the futile impatience that I've spoken about and I sense that the alternative, the solution is already within me.
God seems to be leading me to a childhood experience in Aran, a place that is one of the central sources of nourishment in my interior life. It is an experience of peaceful patience, a patient watchfulness that is the call of Advent.
This is not a return to former innocence; it is not simply something of the past. It is here and now that I am led to access a present interior alternative.
I am the boy who is shepherded by the warm and saintly Mary Ann McDonagh. I play alone on the beach in Kilronan. She calls to me from the front door of her pub and takes me to her kitchen where we pray - with her sitting in a chair by the table and I kneeling, hands resting on her lap.
After prayer there was tea and Kimberley biscuits and then she would take me to the window in the pub that looks out over Galway Bay. My job was to watch out for the steamer, the ship that sailed the three hour journey from Galway.
No one knew the time of departure because there was no timetable. The Naomh Eanna left when she was fully loaded with the food and other supplies that were necessary for life on the island.
So my waiting was a long process which I undertook obediently and patiently. For a couple of hours I would simply watch the sea until the ship appeared as a tiny dot on the horizon. I got to know the sea and my gazing became the training for the contemplative part of my soul.
I go back to that experience in order to reawaken the childhood patience that still resides within and I come to peace now when I go back there.
There is of course an impatience that is good and holy such as our impatience for the rights of the homeless and the poor of our town; an impatience with the system that keeps them there; an impatience with ourselves to do something more than provide the night shelter and food we offer once a week. This kind of impatience needs to be expressed effectively so that the right thing is done for those who need it.