There was a time, years and years, really, when I wondered how anyone survived without Advent. It seemed so essential to me, this time of preparation, of slowing down, of paying attention.
These days, I find that I am wondering whether I would miss it if it evaporated.
I think that I might not. Might not miss it at all.
It seems to me to be the hardest time of the year.
This morning outside the post office I ran into a woman whose young adult son died last summer. I stopped her because I wanted to assure her that it gets better. I don't know whether that's true. Some days, I suppose. It definitely changes. For some inexplicable reason I was sufficiently delirious as to think that I might have something to offer her.
"I went to one of those services last week, one of those that are supposed to give you hope," she said as she climbed into her truck. "I won't be doing anything like that again."
I paused. "All we can do is live it," I said.
"I know; that's what everyone says," she responded. So much for originality on my part. "But how long? How long can you live like this?"
I don't know.
How long, O Lord?