Last night I heard a homily for Our Lady of Guadalupe (and also Advent) that focused on the phrase --
Estoy esperando contigo.
I am waiting with you. We might offer, "I'll wait with you."
In Spanish, esperar also means to hope for, or to expect--which always seems (to me, not a native Spanish speaker) to make waiting a more positive thing. We do not wait in vain.
This idea of waiting together got me thinking about friendship, and that being a friend is about being with someone. Caring enough just to be there, without agenda or anything. Waiting with someone might be easy (waiting for a plane to take you on vacation) or it might be very hard (waiting at their side through sickness or death). It doesn't require any special talents or skills, just the ability to be.
I woke up this morning having dreamt of a friend. We lost our friendship when (as she told me) she realized she couldn't "help" me and had decided it was better if we went our separate ways. I wish I had the presence of mind to say that I didn't need help, I just missed her presence in my life. We all make that mistake sometimes--to think that being a friend means solving someone else's problems, offering solutions. Sure, that's part of friendship sometimes, but it's not what makes it friendship.
"I'll wait with you." Isn't that what prayer is, too? To pray is to be present to God, who is always present to us. That's what we're doing in this season of Advent: preparing for Christ's coming by being present to the God within, by making space in our lives for Jesus to be born in us every day. We wait for his coming.
The good news is, we do not wait in vain.