When I go to the supermarket, I always look to see where the fastest cashier is, and I target the right checkout,” recalls Aurélie, a Francilian who is a little overwhelmed by her daily life as a mother and self-employed person. “I live with a feeling of wasting time when the sequence planned in my head is not effective, especially during moments like shopping or commuting! When my child is slow to put on his shoes, when I put an ad on my Leboncoin application, and I don’t have a result within five minutes, I give up and I no longer worry about it to go to another imperative…” Like this young mother, our capacity to wait seems to be shrinking visibly. Through billboards and on metro platforms, city dwellers are even more subject to this rule of immediate satisfaction, this promise of “zero expectations”, as synonymous with an easier, and therefore happier, life. “Your shopping at home in ten minutes”, “Your package delivered this evening”: these promises praise the newfound tranquility. What could be more enticing than these websites that offer to “get rid of queues” by “digitalizing” them?
“Impatience can be beautiful when it comes from an ardent desire, but not when it comes from the greed specific to the spirit of consumption”, underlines Jacqueline Kelen, convinced of “the greatness of expectation”, the title of his latest book which has just been published (1). “These days there is more and more speed, more injunctions, which make us react like automatons. » But waiting allows us to settle our impulses, to take a step back, to differentiate between what must be taken seriously and what is superfluous. “Waiting is above all a question of faith,” continues the writer. Not only faith in God, but also in others. Let us think of Penelope, in Greek mythology, who is waiting for her husband Ulysses, who has left to fight the Trojan War. She doesn’t know if he’ll ever come back. She can decide to no longer believe it, discouraged by all those who make it seem dead, or to hope and wait. »
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Yves-Marie, head of culture on the KerMadeleine integration project, in Loire-Atlantique, lives this expectation imbued with hope on a daily basis. The men at the end of their sentences who work with him are those from whom we would spontaneously expect nothing, or not much. “Who could bet on them? This is the question I often ask myself regarding the workers in our integration farm, he expresses. In my job, I put a lot of energy into believing that the other will be able to regain the upper hand, regain self-confidence, whereas from a human perspective, it sometimes seems impossible… I think of this man who did not want to hear about to get back behind the wheel of a car. He re-tested his license against all odds, after getting used to riding in carts and tractors!”
The challenge of waiting is to still dare to believe in it, like Penelope in her internal struggle against time. “Believing in it is taking a risk,” continues Yves-Marie. But the wait, in my case, has often been rewarded. How many times have I projected things onto these men with chaotic pasts! And in the end, it didn’t happen at all as I had imagined. This is precisely where surprises occur that sometimes exceed our expectations.” In his profession, the man of the earth has learned to free himself from the tensions linked to waiting and the fear of failure. Experiencing uncertainty in the face of bad weather and human behavior has led him to a “dispossession that de-dramatizes the wait,” he emphasizes. Not long ago, my leeks had a lot of trouble getting started, and they ended up being very beautiful! Even if it remains a struggle, experience has shown me that expectations are rarely disappointed.
Élise, 38, waited a long time before getting married last year and welcoming her first child into her emotional arms. She, who dreamed intensely, since the age of 20, of fulfilling herself in a family life with a host of children, says: “Waiting to meet for so long, with numerous romantic failures, taught me to better Live in the moment. For a while, I told myself that my big plans, my desire to start a family, would make me happier. I lived in this projection. Little by little, I tried to dig into this present happiness in the little things of everyday life: getting up in the morning, taking time for God, asking him for his peace and patience, being fully present to others.” The mother, who was belatedly granted, said she had expanded her heart, unexpectedly, during this time apparently considered too long. “I received enormously in the gift of myself. I took care of many young people, Church projects, I responded to friends who called me at 6 p.m. to come and help them at 6:30 p.m….”
Free yourself from illusions
Waiting then becomes a profound experience, which is embodied on a daily basis. “Standing in immense expectation, without knowing what is going to happen, without seeking results or efficiency, frees us from our illusions of power,” notes Jacqueline Kelen. “It is very human to desire something and want it to be satisfied. But waiting refers to the freedom and dignity of man. This wait sobers us. It strips us of our desire for domination, she continues. In our time where we want to master and understand everything, it is urgent to ask ourselves the question: “What do I have control over?” Because I am not the master of much.”
God himself, as shown in the Old Testament which is traditionally called “the time of patience”, punctuated the history of his people with promises which would only be fulfilled later, with waiting in the desert or in captivity… It was about giving man time to mature his faith, his desire, and his freedom. “The great wait returns as a capital theme in the Bible,” continues Jacqueline Kelen. In the Old Covenant, it maintains the permanent memory of God. And that goes for us too. To remember God is to live in the desire of God.”
This ability to remember is essential to human beings, and despite all the forgetting and denials, God will be there. This is his eternal promise. It is the very promise of this Advent season, which places the Christian in a waiting suspended from that of God. “In this liturgical period, the Christian is called to free himself from the accessory to expand his interior space,” concludes the writer. By making room for this incredible birth, he prepares himself for a renewal, a rebirth, an expansion of the heart.
(1) Greatness of expectation , by Jacqueline Kelen, Éditions du Cerf, 216 p. ; €16.
Three tips for being patient
In a stimulating work entitled Spiritual Praise of Patience Father Ludovic Frère indicates three great remedies for impatience.
1. Dismiss your ego . When life no longer follows my rhythm, it’s about emancipating oneself from the demands of one’s ego. “By deciding that no one takes up my time, I remind myself that time is not mine, but God’s. » Giving up wanting to control everything allows you to rejoice in the unexpected. And to the patience to become an occasion of praise.
2. Practice . I can try to tolerate the faults of others by gritting my teeth. But it’s about taking a step further. Patiently enduring involves training as intense as sports training! My tools: prayer and humility. “If I contemplate Christ who made himself small, I enter into this spirit of smallness which helps me to acquire a quiet strength to support others. »
3. Return to the source . Waiting often seems like a complete waste of time. In a queue, instead of fidgeting or sighing, I can choose to live in the moment. What if I turned my eyes to the person behind me, who just needs help? Opening this space of waiting for free can also reconnect us to the deep desire that inhabits us. Because God made us for himself. “Why not then take up this great cry of humanity: “Come, Lord Jesus!” »
By Marilyne Chaumont