Global Lens Reflections on life, the universe, and everything

Waiting in Mursan

In the northern Indian village of Mursan, traditionally-dressed Hindu women sit in a train station, waiting for a relative to arrive.

In these waning days of Advent, when our practice of waiting is stressed to the breaking point by the violent anti-logic of NRA types who think the solution to violence is more violence, I recall those I've known who wait patiently. In refugee camps and prisons around the world, in homes torn by abuse and neighborhoods ravaged by intolerance, people wait for the fullness of life that they hope is their birthright, and which Christians believe is promised to all in the Gospels. Such radical love isn't encouraged by the wealthy, whose power is maintained by the armies and technology of conflict. Thomas Merton acknowledged this in Raids on the Unspeakable: “Into this world, this demented inn, in which there is absolutely no room for him at all, Christ has come uninvited.” Welcoming the uninvited one, however, calls for disciplined waiting. So we set a place at the table for Elijah. We breathe more slowly. We sit and listen, not sure for what exactly, but we know it’s not the latest NRA screed.

These women in Mursan, in northern India, are waiting in a train station. Who are they waiting for? I don’t know. Their comfortable practice of waiting, each in her own way, calls on us to sharpen our own waiting skills so that we’ll be aware of the incarnation when it happens.

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