ADVENT WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?

Advent reminds me of a time when I was working in the corporate world and we were told that the big boss from NYC was coming to visit us the small subsidiary. Is this the time of year that we were supposed to profit or was it the time of year that we would give away the store, I was uncertain and one thing that I was certain of is that he wasn't showing up. And he didn't. It was just a big tease. We were commanded to getting cleaning and straightening and most did. I told the boss that my desk would remain exactly as it was, nothing would change.

Everyone else straightened and got their files in order. I was young, and maybe even abrasive in my attempts to be humorous. I thought they were quite silly. Why would a boss even care how my desk looked? At another job it was the running joke that the big shots were coming and of course that meant a lot of cleaning and preparation, and most of the time they too didn't show up.

I was the one that always cleaned during these false alerts. It couldn't hurt and then one day after a break strolling down the aisles and trying to avoid real work by languishing with customers and trying to avoid real work who do I spy out of the corner of my eye except a man that didn't fit the NH profile of laid back and dressed down.

From across the store I could smell his cologne and the starch in his shirt. And I could view the sharp crease of his pants and his cement in place hair. He screamed NYC. And so I alerted my boss and saved her day. It could be that being older I had learned the lesson that it really didn't matter if he showed up or not, it was just the right to do, prepare, be as if, the big one was coming, after all it couldn't hurt.

And yet sometimes it was frustrating. And a few times I had intuition and was cleaning kitchen while inspectors walked in... That was a great feeling. All these expectations. Shouldn't we be prepared each and every day for the coming of the boss? Being told what to do isn't always fun and we certainly know better. Or do we? Shouldn't we do the right thing because it is the right thing to do?

At CVS the other day all the electronics that I wanted to see, were behind the counter in a case and the surly attendant was pit bull ready to pounce on me if I asked to see those items . It could be that all these beliefs were all in my mind, not real and still here they were. Now not only could I not see what they were-I also felt a sense of trepidation of even asking the employee for service-service that was long ago killed as people's jobs became automated.

Advent is like that for me as well. I can see what is ahead and yet it is out of my reach to grasp and hold and examine. And is the risk worth it? It seems it should be and still time-after-time highs and lows of emotions converge letting me with a uncertain view of what just took place during the last 21 days.

Lastly, I thought of my old apartment, with the cats that looked out the windows, at the outside an outside that most of the time they would never get to be apart of. I wondered if they were jealous of the birds who got to be free and not captives. It reminded me of Clare, the cat that even the thought of cheers me up on a gloomy mind day. She had captured a mouse and didn't know what to do with it. I set the mouse free. Does the waiting of Advent set us free? Sometimes I don't know what to do with religion.