Over Thanksgiving, I found myself in the lobby of a Double Tree Hotel in Charlottesville, Va. I was waiting for my family to come downstairs so we could attend a bonfire at my relative’s house.
I waited quite impatiently. I watched the local news and weather, for which I had no real concern. I wondered how I could score one of the hotel’s lauded cookies, which is apparently a selling point of the hotel.
Why was I sitting in the hotel lobby, insisting on being so busy in this season of advent. Why was I rushing when I was on vacation?
I realize now in retrospect that while waiting frantically for one adventure to begin, I could have been taking another. I could have been taking an advent adventure, which is a journey without distance.
In fact, the words advent and adventure share a word origin. It’s time we made advent part of adventure in our everyday life.
Advent is not a season of waiting so much as it is a season of not doing.
Advent is a time where we are invited to slow down, reflect, and clean house.
It’s an invitation we too often refuse. I know I’d rather distract myself with non-local weather reports or daydreams of baked goods or what I’m going to get so-and-so for Christmas than spend time in quiet reflection.
By redirecting our energy inward and making the “journey without distance,” we accept the true adventure of advent. It’s terribly vital to recharge ourselves in this way, though it can also be scary. After all, why do so many of us, when faced with downtime, turn immediately to television or a book or an electronic device? Why are we so afraid to spend time with ourselves?
Perhaps we’d be faced with questions we don’t want to ask.
Are you truly happy with what you’re doing with your life?
What would happen if you faced your own darkness?
Or the most dangerous question of all: what if you looked inside yourself and found no sin at all?
In the face of questions like these, what old habits, what outworn preconceptions of yourself or your status or your abilities would you be forced to change? It’s this kind of introspection that leads to true adventure in life.
So the next time you find yourself waiting, whether in a hotel lobby or in line at the grocery store, don’t do what I did. Instead of fretting over a lack of time or what you need to do, allow yourself to take an adventure.
At a time when nerves can be frayed over holiday hassle, the act of being, not doing, can be far more rewarding and exhilarating.