“Anticipatory” Advent

2ele3apWhat a great word.  It’s an adjective but unfortunately we use it as a verb as though we can propel forward and predict outcomes that haven’t happened.

In our minds we have the ability to end what hasn’t begun.  We create the situation in our minds complete with sounds and colors, the conversation and the outcome.  It becomes clear to our mindful minds how an unknown situation will become known.

“It’s the flowers,” we say to ourselves as we approach her door and ask forgiveness for that impulsive fling last week.  We’re baffled because the conversation has already been settled in our minds while she doesn’t open the door but still grabs the flowers.  “How did that happen?” we say to ourselves as we leave after knowing what the anticipatory scene ought to have been.  We walk away with the question always asked of those who anticipate, “But I thought that…”

It’s both gift and curse of us thinking humans who have the ability to think forward and backwards and both times think we can assuredly predict outcomes.  “I’ll act this way to her,” we rehearse to ourselves and end up yelling at each other about yesterday’s problems.   “If I hold her hand she’ll die in peace” we say to ourselves as we return with a cup of coffee and she’s gone.

“Anticipatory” is a drama play in our minds.  We have the stage set, characters in place and the music is ready to begin as the curtain opens to our imagined act but now played in real time, only without the audience.  (Oh, wait!  There is an audience.)  The audience is in our minds.  “We’ve (I mean, ‘I’) rehearsed this and practiced it again and again.”  “This is not the way it was supposed to turn out,” “You’re not hearing what I’ve said to myself for days now.”

Lucky us humans.  We can look back and change nothing and we can look ahead and predict.  How’s that working for us?

Do we need a new cast of characters or do we need a simpler version of this mystery of life, which is not anticipated but mysteriously lived.

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on Amazon.com.
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