By Tash McGill
I’ve just finished a vacation. Which meant two weeks with no urgent notifications or demands to clear my inbox. It should have been bliss, but it hasn’t been easy this time. This time, seeing many of the people I love and celebrating Thanksgiving hasn’t been the energizing, mood-boosting lift I wanted. I hoped for vacation to signal the end of a hard road, but instead it simply illuminated how far there is still to go.
At the end of Thanksgiving Day I wrote the words, ‘Sometimes because my dreams, hopes and desires are so big, it’s easier to forget how much I have to be thankful for.’ And I do have much to be thankful for – a good job, great friends in many parts of the world, the ability to move freely and work on many things I’m passionate about. The rub is, I’ve spent the last year and the year before that and even the year before that, travelling down the road of letting dreams, hopes and desires go.
I could write this all poetically but it would take too much time. Here are the bullet points that will get me to the point:
- Letting go of hopes and dreams is surrendering your desire to get what you want
- It means surrendering your desire for control and false ideas of control and power
- There is nothing easy about this task of emotional and neural reprogramming, because you must learn new ways of being over and over
- In the process of surrendering your sense of how things ought to be (control) you realize how much space it consumed
- You realize it when you are left with the corresponding emptiness
So that is where I find myself, at the end of the dark road peering into even darker emptiness. Enter the Advent season. Into the darkest of moments, when all I want is the assurance it will all be ok, that my feeble little self won’t be left behind and mostly, that there is love enough for me in the world, to fill the emptiness – enter the Advent.
Dependence on God is not a strong enough description of the answer to my emptiness. The answer is an equally deep need of God. Surrendering control and that aching emptiness is in fact creating capacity and openhandedness to receive God answering my emptiness. Enter the Advent. How desperately I need the hope of the incarnated God made flesh with us, made real. I so desperately need the flesh-and-blood God to remind me that I am part of the oneness of humanity.
Hope wasn’t made for me alone, but for us. How desperately I need the Advent to reorient me to the love of God made flesh for all of humanity, not just myself.
Enter the Advent, where I have opportunity to turn my eyes away from the darkness of my own emptiness and to the light that is coming to shine in all our emptiness.