Now here's a question: When we have to slow down, can we do so easily or does it make us frustrated and nervous?
--Mary C. Earle
The poet David Whyte says that we move at a great velocity in this society, and that one of the laws of physics is that we can only see what is traveling at the same speed as we are. If we stop, stand, raise our heads, we will behold people we have not seen. We will notice the night sky laced with stars. We will see the faces of those we hold dear. We will be confronted by that Christ in his many different disguises. We will find ourselves noticing, awakening, stirring. And without a doubt, we will find ourselves feeling uncomfortable. When we stop, we might discover our own meanness, our own latent cruelty, our own stinginess, our own hard hearts, our own rigid insistence that we have to be right. Advent gives us space and time to know anew that there is time to prepare, time to allow our flinty hearts to soften, time to slow enough that we might see the living Christ in our midst, bringing redemption near, near as our breath, near as a heartbeat.
How can we repent when we don't know ourselves well enough to do so? And how can we know ourselves if we don't stop for a while and pay attention to what's within?