Monday night, I realized my Internet service had gone down. So, like thousands of others before me, I called Comcast. I tried all the usual things: unplugging everything; asking for a “refresh pulse,” to no avail. So I scheduled an appointment with a technician, carefully specifying that the “confirmation call” had to go to my cell phone.
Yesterday, I went home to wait for my visit. Fruitlessly, because it turns out that the tech ignored the cell phone number completely and sent the “confirmation call” to my New Jersey number, which has not been active for almost two years. When a recording told Comcast that the number was disconnected, they cancelled the visit. So, like thousands before me, I called up to complain, asking the customer service woman, “Why did you call a 732 number for a person whom you bill in 202, and whose home phone service you supply?” “Oh, lots of our customers have phone numbers in area codes different than the ones they live in,” she replied, airily, and then scheduled a visit for today.
Now I am waiting for Comcast. Again. Trying not to think about Godot.
It occurs to me that prayer is sometimes a bit like this. We’re going around living our lives, perfectly fine, when we realize we feel disconnected. So we begin to pray, and nothing happens. We wait for God, and God does not appear, or we knock on the door where God used to be, not knowing that God has moved on, not knowing that God is asking us to move, to grow, to learn to see God in new places and new ways.
So we wait again, wondering if it will “work” this time, trying to hold back the fear that this waiting will be forever.
How do you know if it “worked”? Well, if you are reading this, it means that at some point, I did get Internet service again. And if you woke this morning, if you are breathing and moving and wondering and thinking and feeling, it means that you are enfolded in God’s love, even if you can’t feel that love right now. And if you want to pray, that means God is alive in you, working to draw you into God, even if you don’t have any idea what that means.
St. John of the Cross reminds us that faith, hope, and love “unite [us] with God.” It’s not that they lead us to God or push us toward God; they, themselves, are the sign of our belovedness. We wait in the dark, looking for light, and all the while we are bathed in it, streaming around us so brightly that we are blinded and can not even see it. But the love is there. The grace is there. Emmanuel — God with us — is with us, even in the waiting.