The night wanes thin. I shift my uncomfortable bulk and groan softly. Thirty-eight years old and nine months pregnant, I am completely undone. The minutes-turned-hours tick by slowly. How agonizing this waiting. I remember it so well.
Another night, the babe is inconsolable. He must be rocked and held constantly in order to remain asleep. My husband piles the pillows all around me with concern and the utmost care. But it is of no use. This littlest loudest one requires constant motion in order to rest peacefully. I smile wearily at my husband and set my will to pacing the floors. Tomorrow is a new day. I hold my sweet one close and await the dawn.
And just over a year ago, I find myself curled up on the bedroom floor of a child whose heart has been crushed, splintered by a love denied. I stroke the wild curls and wrap my arms about this too-big, man-child of mine, wishing with all of my heart that the gut-wrenching pain would cease. Alas, only time will heal his wound. Prayers whispered in the dark act as a temporary balm as I hold vigil. Eventually, he surrenders to sleep just as the sun comes up, and I drag myself back to bed.
Our lives are spent in this short span between longing and living. Our journey is in the waiting. Sometimes, it is peaceful; oftentimes, it is excruciatingly painful. Whether it is a physical promise of the healing of the body or a long-awaited birth. Or perhaps spiritual—a reconciliation, a reversion back to the faith, or a coming home at last. The times of peaceful waiting seem few and far between, but they are also present—a moment with a child and a picture book, a glass of wine with our spouse or a friend, or a blessed soul-healing holy hour. These are our Holy Nights, Nights Divine—whether or not they much resemble the holy and the divine.
Like our Blessed Mother’s journey to Bethlehem, our lives are an Advent. We wait with longing and a supernatural hope to partake in eternal rejoicing, the likes of which this weary world cannot fathom.