The Sufi master teaches
I was looking for a prayer for a meeting last night and remembered this story. I searched far and wide online but it took me a good long while to track it down. Then when I read it… decided it just wasn’t right for the prayer or the meeting.
So there must have been another reason why I needed to find it again.
Here you go… take a read.
A famous Sufi master was invited to give a course in California.
The auditorium was full at 8:00 am — the time announced — when one of the assistants came onto the stage and said “The master is just waking up. Please be patient.”
Time passed, and people started leaving the room.
At midday, the assistant returned to the stage, saying the master would be starting the lecture the minute he finished talking to a pretty girl he had just met.
Most of the remaining audience left.
At 4:00 pm the master appeared — apparently drunk.
This time, all but six people stormed out.
“I will teach you this,” said the master, ceasing to act drunk. “Whoever wishes to go down a long path must learn that the first lesson is to overcome early disappointments.”
I see it NOW!
I was looking for an Advent prayer. At our small staff Mass earlier in the day, Bishop gave a good homily reflection about dreaming and longing during Advent. Isaiah’s words from 11:1-9 gives the image of a new future… the wolf will be the guest of the lamb… the child shall play by the cobra’s den.
Our dreaming and our longing will be fulfilled when this Christ-child comes down from heaven and becomes Emmanuel… God-With-Us.
Advent is waiting… like in the story of the Sufi master. I couldn’t make the leap in my brain yesterday. Ugh. (I’m sure you made the connect right away… Smarty!)
God’s Waiting Room
It occurs to me that the whole of this earthly life is God’s Waiting Room. It could be that we’re waiting to see the doctor… or the tax accountant… or the architect… or the pastor. We might be seeking information… advice… or a cure.
But essentially, there is always a period of waiting. How do we wait well?
Patience doesn’t tend to be a well-practiced virtue in this day and age of instant gratification. Witness Black Friday door-busting video footage… literally door… busting.
Waiting well requires paying attention. The anxiety rushes in because we were caught unaware thinking about something else / the light turns green but we don’t see it / the car behind us HONKS! / and the race begins again. Stop and start and stop all over again a little further down the road. Not so different in other areas of life.
It’s all a lesson in being present to THIS moment… not THAT moment yesterday or THE moment coming up this afternoon.
But THIS moment… THIS breath right now.
Practice waiting well.
A very worthy gift to give yourself this Christmas.