Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 15, 2003
Waiting for God -- not Godot -- excites
One Saturday, I went shopping for a picture frame. I was so excited when I found a frame I thought would truly highlight the beauty of a photo I had recently shot.
All I was thinking was to rush back home. To my dismay, the long queue at the cashier was both discouraging and moving very slowly. I had to wait.
Of the many things that most people dislike to do, I think waiting is tops. I talked to nine people and asked them why they dislike waiting? They all have the same response: "It's a waste of time."
At first glance, that seems to be reasonable.
The scenario gets worse when you know that sometimes the long wait is due to inefficiency. Sometimes companies prefer to drive their workers almost like slaves rather than hire more people to make service better and efficient.
Sometimes it's being there at the wrong time, when almost the whole city in one synchronized move thought, "It is the perfect time to shop." That is when half of the population feels they need the indulgence of retail therapy.
But this type of waiting is not as draining as waiting for someone in your office, at your home or in a coffee shop. At least when you're waiting for your turn to pay you can approximate how long you will have to wait. You have the visual of the end of this waiting.
Whenever you have to wait for someone to come, there is always that chance the person won't come. You'll never know until the person shows up and stands in front of you. In fact when you're waiting in a coffee shop and you see the person come in through the door, you get a feeling of relief that the waiting is over.
Whenever I am waiting for someone and the appointed time has passed and the person is a no-show, I often think of one of the most striking plays written in the 20th century, Samuel Beckett's, Waiting for Godot.
It is an absurd, stirring, chilling and unrepentantly satirical play. The characters even poke fun at the play that they are in as one of the states that, "nothing ever happens."
Stark and empty, the play has an air of waiting for something to happen, but nothing ever happens.
The potential bleakness of the world that we live in comes to a head in this play where every action hinges on the appearance of Godot, who strikes a resemblance (according to the players) to God. Beckett however denied Godot is a representation of God, although it is very evident in the play.
Some people would say, "Godot, is ambiguous and in his ambiguity he is powerful; as is the play that carries his name."
Often, the season of Advent is associated with waiting. Indeed it is waiting for the season of Christmas to arrive. But it is more than waiting. It is a season of happy expectations.
We cannot separate waiting from expecting, because this is the only way that waiting can be meaningful. One is waiting because there is something to expect and such expectation is not based on empty promises. It is based on the credibility of the one who promised to be there, to be here.
God has promised us of an everlasting presence within. Our happy expectation for this season is for Emmanuel - God with us.
God is mysterious not ambiguous. Unlike Godot. God is powerful and will surely come. Unlike Godot.
Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 -- Western Catholic Reporter
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.