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  • Rev. Caroline

Waiting for a waistcoat

“Advent is a time of waiting” is the first line of a hymn. Lent is also a time of waiting.


The pandemic has forced every one of us to spend more time waiting, whether we like it or not. Queuing at the supermarket, bank or café has become part and parcel of everyday life, with symbols on the pavement and posters in windows constantly reminding us of the 2 metre distancing requirement and the good reasons for putting it into practice.


By contrast, we may miss waiting for a bus – and the possible opportunity for a chat with our fellow queuers – because we’re not popping into town for a browse round the shops or lunch with a friend. We may even have relaxed our green principles to take the car and remain solitary, when ordinarily we would travel by public transport.


Perhaps you are waiting for that all-important phone call to give you an appointment for your vaccination, or perhaps you queued outside the city’s Caird Hall, happy to do so because the vaccine represents progress both on the scientific and social fronts.


What are the things you are prepared to wait for? A cappuccino from your favourite cafe? Someone to answer the phone at the airline which owes you money for cancelled flights? A child in your family to understand your explanation of something in their Maths lesson?


There are other things about which we can’t do anything but wait: visiting those we love, travelling overseas, a wedding that everyone can attend, a celebration of the life of someone who has died during the pandemic.


Recently I came across the term “active waiting”. As I understand it, this is the opposite of the idea that waiting patiently means gritting our teeth and acting the martyr, and hating every single minute. By contrast, active waiting means getting on with our lives in the meantime, filling our days with productive activity and looking at the positive aspects of waiting. We might, for instance, take time to pray while we are in a queue or, if we’re waiting for a date on the calendar to come round, put on the calendar the things we’re going to do until then.


“The colours are brighter”.


A friend of mine who was diagnosed with cancer summed up his attitude to living with cancer in this lovely statement.


In other words, he took to savouring everything in life, including those things he had previously dismissed as humdrum.


This being Fair Trade Fortnight (which lasts until 7th March) let me end with a photo of my hand-embroidered Palestinian waistcoat. I ordered it from Hadeel, who distribute and retail Fair Trade Palestinian crafts and whose shop is at 123 George Street, Edinburgh, nextdoor to the Church of Scotland offices. I think it took more than a couple of months to arrive – but then, each waistcoat takes around a couple of weeks to be embroidered in the workshop. To see the ladies at work, and other craftspeople too, in Gaza City, follow this link: Hadeel Virtual Supplier Tours Atfaluna Final - YouTube


For other Fair Trade Fortnight online events: Free Online Festival: Choose The World You Want | Fairtrade Foundation


To learn more about Hadeel and their wonderful range of products: Hadeel - Fair Trade Palestinian Crafts


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