I Want, I Want

Learning to wait is critical, no matter what our ages. When I was old enough to have a paper route, I wanted a BB gun. Guns were dangerous and my Mom didn’t want me to have one. I kept nagging my Dad. “I want, I want,” I said. Finally, I took my newspaper money, went to the hardware store and bought a Red Ryder crank action.


That same night my father came home and surprised me in the ditch behind the house where I had been shooting at a tin can. He had a very stiff face, so I knew he was angry. I followed him to his car. He opened the trunk, and there they were–two boxes with rifles in them, one a Red Ryder crank action and the other a Daisy slide action. The slide action was the more expensive rifle and the one I really dreamed about.


“You can keep that one,” my Dad said, indicating the one in my hand. He slammed the trunk. “I’m returning these.” And he climbed into the car and drove off.


There were two rifles in his trunk. Were both for me? Or one for him and one for me? My Dad returned the two rifles and I never saw them again.


I was the eldest son and he wanted me to have what I wanted. But I had offended him greatly. He was the father and I was the son he had told to wait. I had waited as long as I could, then lost faith. I had taken matters into my own hands, and our relationship became broken.


All living–Advent, Christmas and everyday–has to do with waiting: Waiting in a way that makes us hospitable to something new and radically different. Waiting has to do with hospitality to the promise of wholeness of life in God’s love.