The advent season has arrived this past Sunday with the liturgical readings themed around anticipation. As I sat in Mass listening to our pastor preached on waiting with anticipation I thought of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot.
In Waiting for Godot, we have Vladimir and Estragon waiting with anticipation for someone by the name of Godot. The two are somewhat absent-minded, and are even unsure if they are at the right place to meet Godot when he comes. Vladimir and Estragon pass the time by doing the most mundane of things, like take off a shoe and then putting it back on again. Waiting for Godot consists of two acts and in each act Vladimir and Estragon are waiting for Godot. At the end of each act a boy comes to them and tells them that Mr. Godot sends word that he is unable to make it today, but he will make it tomorrow. One could reasonably assume that if there is a third act, that Vladimir and Estragon will still be passing time with mundane activities while waiting for Godot, who will send word that he will come tomorrow but doesn’t show up.
As we work through Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, we get a sense of longing, of deep desire, for Godot. The longing is so deep that it feels natural to Vladimir and Estragon, so much so that they do not realize that they’re spending their entire days doing absolutely nothing but waiting for Godot, only to have to wait another day when the boy shows up late in the day to inform them that Godot can’t make it. I suspect that this sense of profound longing is the very same kind that our hearts have for God. The Psalmist expresses this longing with intensity: “O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (Ps 63:1) or “I stretch out my hands to You; My soul longs for You, as a parched land.” (Ps 143:6)
And so like Vladimir and Estragon, we must wait. We must be patient and recognize that God will come to us in His own time and not when we have decided for Him to come.
Happy Advent, my friends!