Anticipate, like you’re leaning into the music, and watch me.

by | Oct 16, 2023 | Faith, Nature | 3 comments |

Here at Vanaprastha, we anticipate winter by leaning into fall and watching. See the red-tipped maple, the turning leaves of the Virginia Sweetspire, and the berry-laden Cranberry Viburnum.  How else do we anticipate?

Anticipate as a verb: to be earlier than

During the summer, our church meets once a month for a mid-week evening prayer service at Trinity, the church constructed in the late 19th century on the original property in Crimora, Virginia. As I wrote four years ago, one evening, the choir had assembled in advance to rehearse. The setting sun streamed through the stained-glass window behind the altar and illuminated the flute music I’d propped on the lectern, in the absence of a music stand. To my left was the church organist, playing a portable, electronic keyboard; to my right, the choir and director. 

For attendees, the acoustics are wonderful; the sound reverberates around that old church. But itis almost impossible for the musicians to hear one another and stay together. By the time the choir hears the keyboard sound from across the room, they are behind. 

“Don’t wait until you hear the accompaniment,” the director said. “Anticipate, like you’re leaning into the music, and watch me.” I listened for the keyboard with my left ear, watched the director’s downbeats, listened to the choir with my right ear, and did my best to put it together in my head and keep pace, both in time and in anticipation.

Anticipate as a noun, an expectation

The story goes, as I wrote here, that Carly Simon penned her 1971 hit while waiting for a date with Cat Stevens. The song was so popular in the 70s and 80s that the chorus was used for Heinz ketchup commercials. Anticipation, anticipation is makin’ me late, is keepin’ me waitin’

This past week, I’ve received more “yeses” to my big “ask” for authors’ blurbs for my book Wisdom Builds Her House. At some subconscious level, I’m worried that if I finally get what I want, I’ll be disappointed, that publication will be less than I’ve hoped for all these years. Expectation. Maybe it’s like waiting for Christmas, making a wish-list, wondering what Santa will put in your stocking and under the tree. When Christmas finally arrives and packages are unwrapped, then comes the let-down. Anticipation, expectation, which opens the door to my not-very-pretty Shadow of Disappointment. 

In his October 11, 2015 reflection, Richard Rohr stated: “The shadow includes all those things about yourself that you don’t want to see, are not yet ready to see, and you don’t want others to see. Our tendency is to try to hide or deny this shadow part of ourselves, even and most especially from ourselves…” Then he observed, “The wild beasts and the angels reside in the same wilderness,” the same shadow, referring to Jesus’ forty days in the desert noted in Mark 1:13. It occurred to me that I have a choice: to see my shadow self—not hide or deny it—or not. If I lean in and watch, I’ll be able to say, “No, thank you” to the beast of disappointment and, “Yes ,please” to the angel of wonder. 

Anticipate as a verb, be prepared for

It’s not difficult to realize when God is causing something desired—something for us to anticipate—to happen. Like the change of leaves or waiting for the Lord’s return. Hope for something that we need to be prepared for, in our thoughts, words, and deeds, until we pass from this earth.

As Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:6-7For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

He continues in verse 8: “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

I encourage you to lean into this hope and watch Him as you anticipate the ultimate.

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  1. Letitia Mason

    I need to think through what you have written about our shadow side, and leaning into hope. I get the musical analogy. You have to feel the music before you can sing it. I am your neighbour on FMF

  2. bigskybuckeye

    Carole, as you write about anticipation, I am reminded of a story filled with anticipation for a Messiah. When you described Trinity Church, I was reminded of small church on Maryland’s Eastern Shore near Church Creek. Old Trinity is one of the oldest, active churches in America.

    • Carole Duff

      The Messiah, our ultimate anticipation, and Trinity churches of memory. Thank you for your comment, Richard!


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