It is morning.
Sorta. 10:00 already, and I spent a good hour accomplishing the single upload of a single photo. And there you see it, the photo at the top of this blog post of my nieces (who take this whole photo business very seriously) and me (the proud aunt who loves my nieces and nephews all the more since I don’t have any of my own).
While I tried, and waited, through the various steps of downloading pictures from my camera to my computer and from my computer to my blog, I read my biology lesson. And I planned the new computer I will buy after Christmas, since this one frustrates me with its inability to perform the simplest tasks in a timely way. A Dell, I think. Just because I’ve only always used a Dell and they (usually) work for me. Even though I would like to try a Mac, I am either too poor or too cheap (synonymous really, since I always seem to have the money for things I really want) to do that right now.
Finally the photo is uploaded, and I lift my fingers to the keyboard and promptly forget everything I was going to say about the photo and the experiences that went with it. My mind, pulled from accomplishing, accomplishing, accomplishing and asked to stop, reflect, and write, circles through space—a hawk circling through sky, through crowded theaters of branches and birds and a million gnats and blades of grass and far-off stones blurred red—glimpses a dot at the bottom of the horizon, focuses, dives.
Naturally, the thing strangled in my talons when I rise is NOT the thing I started out to capture. It never is. I am thinking, instead, of Advent and waiting and expectation and hope and a quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer which my friend Marlene sent me in an email this morning.
“Christ is breaking open His way to you. He wants to again soften your heart, which has become hard. In these weeks of Advent while we are waiting for Christmas, He calls to us that He is coming and that He will rescue us from the prison of our existence, from fear, guilt, and loneliness.” -Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Everyone I know is waiting for something. The women my heart most goes out to this Christmas season—my acquaintances, my friends, women with faces and stories and hearts—are in jail, waiting for release. Waiting for restored relationships, for release from guilt, for a new start, for the strength to do better—a strength which they do not always believe will come.
And I think it strange that I, on the outside, wait for exactly the same things.
I wait for smaller things also, of course. I wait for a new computer. For the end of my college classes and the beginning of the next step in my life. I wait for some things, like children of my own, which may never come to me. But most of all, below everything and encircling everything, I wait for one thing: redemption.
This redemption which I wait for—does everyone have this seed pulsing within them? Small and dusty and golden, maybe as ephemeral as chaff in wind or maybe as solid and depthless as the soil itself—does everyone have this, KNOW of this?
Or are there people who live in this life only, with no knowledge or inkling of a greater purpose?
I do not know how that could be, because redemption—the belief in its existence and the belief in its possibility—is the one thing that gives my whole life meaning.
As a Christian, I believe that it is Christ who came to redeem. And because redemption is His purpose, it is also my purpose: to redeem this day, this dollar, this dream, this human being. If you took that purpose of redemption from me, I would have nothing to live for.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer says further (courtesy of my friend Marlene):
“Do you want to be redeemed? This is the one great question Advent puts before us…. But let us make no mistake about it. Redemption is drawing near. Only the question is: Will we let it come to us as well or will we resist it? Will we let ourselves be pulled into this movement coming down from heaven to earth or will we refuse to have anything to do with it?
“Either with or without us, Christmas will come. It is up to each individual to decide what it will be. “