ON THE THRESHOLD
All Advent asks is your time--
not an hour, or a half, or a second, or a split--
the time it takes, let's say,
to light a candle or say a quick prayer
or read a poem.
Advent says sister surrender your schedule--
not just switching a few things around
(like giving up three whiskeys for five chocolate angels
or fourteen ironic advent meditations, for example).
No, Advent wants your time and your schedule
and your everyday and your always
so you can live in longing without deadening the pain
with the pleasures of the same old thing.
Holy time is not pretty time or inspirational time.
Holy time is liminal, disorienting, frightening, enveloping.
In this season, time is not what you thought it was,
for the past is your present and future,
awaiting the child already born, the kingdom already come--
with John, standing at (and in) Jordan,
turning away from what he already knew you would be,
with Mary, magnifying the One
who has done great things, someday.
The only Advent wreath worth speaking of
is the threshold space in which we stand.
Behind--the comfortable not enough;
Within--the crazy hope of what must but cannot possibly me;
Beyond--this you cannot know dear pilgrim.
Dress light (camel skins perhaps),
empty your pack of all but wonder,
climb three mountains with a broken heart,
eat only bread and wine and blackberries,
memorize everything still to happen,
conceive, gestate, visit your cousin.