Sunday, October 13, 2019



One of my favorite songs is by The Doors, titled "Waiting for the Sun". At one point in the song, Jim Morrison woefully mourns:

Waiting for the sun…Waiting for the sun…
Wait—ing.... wait—ing.... wait—ing.... wait—ing....
Wait—ing.... wait—ing.... wait—ing.... wait—ing....
Waiting for you to — come along
Waiting for you to — hear my song
Waiting for you to — come along
Waiting for you to — tell me what went wrong

I am all too often a waiter, unconsciously waiting for the sun—waiting for things to line up, or postponing enjoyment until the good outweighs or eradicates the bad. I am reminded of Woody Allen's role as Alvy Singer—the neurotic romantic—in the movie Annie Hall. There is an interaction between Alvy (Allen) and his ex-girlfriend Annie Hall, played by Diane Keaton, at an outdoor restaurant. Annie suggests they go somewhere and have some fun. Alvy gloomily declines. Then comes this dialogue:

Annie Hall: Alvy, you're incapable of enjoying life, you know that? I mean, you're like New York City. You're just this person. You're like this island unto yourself.

Alvy Singer: I can't enjoy anything unless everybody is. If one guy is starving someplace, that puts a crimp in my evening.

I now call this
Alvy Singer Syndrome, or A.S.S.—always waiting for something before I can allow myself to enjoy anything. Like Woody Allen's character, I have often seen the world through the lens of ubiquitous suffering and universal darkness, "If one guy is starving someplace, that puts a crimp in my evening."

And lest you think you are exempt, consider this cultures chronic obsession with reading food labels, chronic dieting, Global Warming, political corruption, the latest fashions, wrinkled skin, not having a 'healthy' relationship, recycling and bicycling, the unemployment rate and frequent urination. Now I am all for being conscientious and healthy, however, sometimes I am unconsciously "waiting for the sun to come along," or for someone, or come along before I can experience joy.

After the death of my son in 2008, I entered into an emotional descent that took me a long way from the sun. I found little joy in much of anything. I was in the muted winter of grief. For about eight months everything was viewed through the lens of my boy being shot and dying in the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan. I have never known such darkness—such waiting for the sun. About eight months after Jason's death, I was walking along a quiet beach on Bainbridge Island, praying, crying and waiting for the sun to return. I glanced up and saw a Heron gliding high above the water. He tilted his wings downward to slow his flight and regally curved across the sky and settled on the bouncing branch of a Douglas Fir. My heart spontaneously swelled with joy at this surprising visitation of Beauty. I then noticed the setting sun radiating a pinkish-orange circlet along the horizon behind the tree. I thought my heart would burst. My joyful experience was suddenly arrested by the thought: "I shouldn't enjoy this, my son has just died." At that same moment, an internal voice whispered: "When the moment of Beauty arrives dad, enjoy it." Jason told me years ago that his favorite animal had always been a Heron.

One of the dangers in all of our waiting—for wholeness, for ideal health, for perfect love or for that profound moment of mystical enlightenment—is that we may be residing more or less in a chronic state of inflated anxiety.
And Jim Morrison sings:

Waiting for you to - come along
Waiting for you to - hear my song
Waiting for you to - come along
Waiting for you to - tell me what went wrong
The soul is made for joy. Open. Watch. Receive. Stop waiting.

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