Beyond Lingering

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Beyond Lingering (Mixed Media)

On Sunday, December 1st, the season of Advent began.  In Spanish there is a word that encapsulates this sacred season of Advent.  The word is esperar.  Esperar conveys a meaning of to hope, to wait, and to expect.

I don’t know about you, but I am not always good at waiting.  Sometimes, it becomes hard to hope.  And expectations can be dangerous, because, in the words of the Rolling Stones,  “You can’t always get what you want.”

Life is not always easy.  Circumstances can make the waiting, hoping, and expecting even harder.  We never know what people are walking through in life.

Earlier this year, as I tried to reflect upon and contemplate the coming season of Advent, I was trying to practice lingering.  I pulled out my watercolors, and decided to use the technique of wet-on-wet.  In this practice, you paint an area with clear water and then with wet paint you touch the wet areas and let the colors flow where they will.  It is a practice that involves a bit of surrender and letting go of some of the control.  I thought it would be a great medium to ponder the depths of Advent.  Yet I was scattered, and I had trouble surrendering.  I ended up with a hot mess of colors.  That hot mess represented where I was spiritually that day.  A few weeks later,  I took that hot mess to my friend Robin’s house, for a day apart.  Periodically, we will have day long art retreats, together — a time to share techniques, share our lives, and just make space to create and play.  

As we entered her studio I pulled out the hot mess, ugly art of my attempt at lingering.  Together as we talked and shared, and had times of silence, where we were just in each other’s presence creating, I began to feel a peace wash over me.  I was calm and serene.  I was able to truly rest in the piece I was working on, to linger in God’s presence and just prayerfully create.  I moved beyond lingering.  

The Rolling Stones song goes on to say, “But if you try sometimes, well you just might find, you get what you need.”  These words can be a profound balm or a source of ongoing frustration.  That day in Robin’s studio, I truly got what I needed.  

Sometimes in order to experience the waiting, hoping, and expecting of the Advent season, we cannot do it all on our own.  We need people to come alongside and walk with us through the difficulties of waiting, hoping, and expecting.  Because of the love of a friend, I experienced, that day, how to truly linger and rest in God’s care for that moment of my life.

How will you practice hoping, waiting, and expecting this season?  Is there someone with whom you need to come alongside this season?  Or perhaps you need to have someone come alongside you?  Reach out.  As we walk this path toward awaiting the return of Christ, as we trod this path of life, may we realize that we do not walk it alone.  The Holy Spirit, as well as people in our lives, accompany us and linger with us along life’s way.  This Advent season, may you experience people who share the journey.


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© 2010 Charissa Jaeger-Sanders.  All Rights Reserved.  You are welcome to use the ideas and suggestions found on this website, for no fee, as long as you give credit to Grace Works Studio.  However, if you Find this Website helpful, please consider giving a donation to Grace Works Studio to help continue its ministry.