So, tonsilitis last week. It was definitely the most painful illness I’ve yet to experience. Granted, I haven’t been sick very much in my life, so I’m quite a dramatic baby when I am sick. But I promise you it was a legitimately awful experience. If I want to spiritualize it – which a part of me does want to do because it’d give meaning to something horrible! – then waiting for the tonsilitis to leave my body was quite appropriate for where we are, in the middle of Advent. Waiting.
I recently read an Advent devotional in which the reader was invited to sit back and remember his or her personal experiences with waiting. The writer insinuated that these “waiting” experiences were to be ones that were full of anxious joy – AKA positive experiences with waiting. My being sick last week reminded me that sometimes the “waiting” experiences are awful, downright terrible to endure. They can be dim, gloomy as ever, killjoys of perseverance, and eliminators of hope. So, right now I’m picturing the waiting of Advent through a more painful lens, and I’m remembering that waiting for Jesus’ birth could not have been about consistently lighting candles and smiling and holding hands in excitement. Sometimes it must have been about gritting teeth and bearing it and struggling and not believing and believing and doubting and hoping, sometimes all at the same time.
I for one am grateful that next week’s the week! Christmas! Jesus’ birth! The glimmer of hope, the light at the end of the tunnel!