I enjoy anticipating events almost as much as experiencing them. I like to be nourished three times – before an event, as it’s occurring, and when I look back on it.
When Sam and I married in 1969, there were of course the usual pesky details to sort out – or worry about – ahead of time. I wondered if we could find the kind of everyday garden flowers we wanted for my bouquet [Farmers’ Market]. Would our relatives get across the border uneventfully? [More or less]. What if our outdoor wedding got rained out? [It didn’t]. And where would we find a bakery willing to make us a wedding cake that was not a fruit cake? [We didn’t!].
But there was lots for me to positively anticipate as well. With my counter-cultural self I’d bought a short wedding dress, and we engaged our friend Lyn to sing and play Leonard Cohen’s song “Suzanne” on guitar. I deliciously anticipated what the relatives would think of such wedding innovations. I was curious about what our Goshen professor friend J.R. Burkholder would emphasize in his meditation. But mostly, I simply anticipated being married to this dear draft resister Sam for whom I had left my country of origin.
Eighteen years later, as my ordination day approached, I looked forward to my cousin Richard Detweiler’s sermon, and to my Aunt Esther’s children’s story and piano playing. I anticipated the service as a way for the congregation at St. Jacobs to get to know me better, and as an occasion for my Ontario and Pennsylvania worlds to come together. But mostly, I wondered what I would feel like after this ceremony – would being an ordained pastor make me a different person? And if so, how?
Over the years, I always anticipated our vacations with enthusiasm and hope as we booked lodgings and planned itineraries. Before last summer’s trip to Prince Edward Island, I wondered what it would be like to celebrate Canada Day where the historic Charlottetown Accord was signed. I looked forward to our search for two small settlements of Amish folks who had moved to PEI from Ontario just a couple years earlier [we found them!]. And I wondered whether our journey across the island to the windmills at North Cape would be fascinating enough to justify the drive [it was!].
And now, as we look toward our annual June excursion on the Bruce Peninsula, I wonder – will we spot those rare pink Lady Slipper orchids this year, and if so, where?
I look forward to more “routine” joys as well. Most Sunday mornings I anticipate the worship service by reading the Scriptures and the hymns ahead of time at home, sometimes playing the songs on the piano. I anticipate our weekly drive into the countryside northwest of Waterloo, wondering which trees will be blooming or what produce might be newly available at farm lanes [asparagus!].
And for over 40 years I’ve anticipated our semi-annual trek to Pennsylvania in spring and fall to visit family and old friends. Will the spring blossoms or the fall colours be as spectacular as last year, I’ve wondered. What family news will I hear? Or, in years gone by, what tidbits of family history might I pick up from my Aunt Esther or Aunt Mildred or my brother Jim?
Now this week, I anticipate three nephews and two cousins and their spouses travelling from Pennsylvania and New York to visit us. My anticipatory joy overflows!
Questions for Reflection:
- Which special events have you anticipated in your life? Which routine occurrences? How has anticipatory joy nourished your spirit?
Next Week: Singing my Story