18 November 2021

Faith Matters - Bide

Article by Mr Brendan Nicholls

Faith Matters - Bide

Exams are done! Except for the celebratory events over the coming weeks the journey of secondary schooling has ended for our Year 12 students. So much is about the change for our students. Initially the end of daily attendance, coursework, bells and uniform requirements will be a dramatic change in the life of our senior students. As they work out what to do with the freedom and time that is made available the waiting for exam results, TAFE placements or job offers incrementally increases the tension that the end of school produces begins. Everything is possible but waiting for the new beginnings requires patience and gratitude.

Waiting can be a challenge. Our modern lives are centered upon instant gratification. Everything is available all of the time. We have been conditioned to respond to immediate outcomes. Waiting is something to be overcome. If the online shop can’t deliver tomorrow Google another that can. Snail mail is for Christmas cards and bills, express post or better yet email, is the way to go. When a significant event occurs we broadcast it to our family and friends via our socials. What better way to get ahead of others sharing your big news than posting it to everyone you know instantly?

By the time I write the next newsletter article we will be in the season of Advent. I have noticed evidence of Christmas in our supermarket for a few weeks now and over the weekend was excited to see the full roll out of Christmas everything – decorations, Cadbury elves, mince tarts and tinsel galore. I love it! I cannot wait for Christmas. There is so much joy on Christmas Day. It makes me want the school year to end and go to sleep and wake up on the 25th of December! We all do and that is part of the problem. We want so badly to arrive at the destination we forget that the journey is equally as important. If we wish away the weeks before Christmas, we find we also find that wish away Christmas Day itself; I just can’t wait for lunch…

Patience is not simply a virtue, it is a skill. Being patient requires practice and attention. It’s easy to be distracted or look for the short cut but some things are worth waiting for. In fact, the waiting is in some cases the outcome!

In exploring this thought I note the Year 9 Journey ‘pilgrimage’ that was held last week, where our students walked a significant length of the Bellarine Rail Trail punctuated by a number of short liturgies. The experience for the students was centred upon enjoying the journey and what was encountered along the way. The final destination was afternoon homeroom and obviously of itself not the goal of the day. To get the most out of the day the students needed to be observant, engage with others, and enter into the significant moments that others prepared and presented. Being patient and enjoying the journey was the goal of the experience.

We could have walked much faster, had air pods in our ears or focussed on all that was missed on the day and how much work we now need to catch up on. If we did that we would have missed those moments of beauty and encounter. We would have missed the perfection of creation as we walked along. We would have missed the two wedge tailed eagles flying over the farmstead in Mannerim. We would have missed the beauty of the wind blowing through the long grass as the warm sun energised masses of butterflies. We would have missed the pod of dolphins swim by our third liturgy. We would have missed the moments of presence with others as we journey together. So much would have passed by unnoticed if we were focussed on the end of the journey.

The many moments of encounter occurred because of our patience and awareness of the present moment. Focussing on the present makes us aware of the importance of now. Now is all we have. Presence and encounter only happens in the moment we experience it. Being patient is an important aspect of being complete. When we bide our time we add value to every moment. Waiting is not wasting.

Being comfortable with waiting is something we can all develop. We are all busy. The easing of restrictions has thankfully occurred more swiftly than expected and therefore the adjustments required to accommodate these changes have added extra stress to our days. We are so keen to get ‘back to normal’ we run the risk of actually achieving that! Normal was not perfect and racing back to it will limit our experience of the future.

Take some time each day to sit back and observe. Remove distractions and enjoy whatever it is you experience. What do you notice that you would not otherwise? What do you encounter that you would not otherwise? How does being present become more a source of life for you and others when you take a moment or two to bide in that moment?

Once you are more comfortable with waiting extend this to your ‘normal life’. Focus on the present in ways you have not done before. Turn off the TV and be present with your loved ones during meals or for a period of time each day. Go for a walk simply to go for a walk. Pat your pets intentionally. Order something online and have it sent parcel post instead of express! Consider extending yourself and watching some slow TV on SBS. Over the next six weeks transform you experience of life. Practice patience and find the joy that is here in the present. You may find your ‘new normal’ is better and more fulfilling that what you were originally trying to pursue.

The past we hold as memories and the future is not ours to demand. Enjoy this moment. Even if others are not able to bide a while you can and that may be the encounter that transforms their life. Don’t undersell yourself; Jesus encountered and offered love to one person at a time. When people encountered Jesus time stopped. The moment is and was everything! Live your life like Jesus, be patient and enjoy the pure gift of time as you should – one moment at a time.

Yours in Christ,

Brendan Nicholls  Liturgy Coordinator