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While the rest of us wait, by Len Desroches

The following was written by Len Desroches, a non-violence trainer for Christian Peacemaker Teams and author of Love Of Enemy: The Cross And The Sword Trial.

The following was written by Len Desroches, a non-violence trainer for Christian Peacemaker Teams and author of Love Of Enemy: The Cross And The Sword Trial.

********************** While the rest of us wait

As I pass by our neighbours' home, Elle waves as she holds her very pregnant stomach.

She's in the last stages of the great waiting.

Inside, the baby waits.

I'm on my way to the hospital for cancer tests.

"Results will be in in a day or two."

I wait.

Three days turn into a week.

I wait.

My doctor calls: "You'd better come in."

Feels like the waiting might be leading to an encounter with death.

It's not.

When I come back, I see Elle walking slowly toward me, still waiting.

At suppertime, our two-year-old squeals with anticipation while he waits for ice cream.

We wait a lot – birth, ice cream, death. Life.

But sometimes we're forced to wait in the face of terrible brutality.

Jim Loney [shown], one of my closest friends and our son's godfather, is waiting along with three other co-workers of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT).

I visit Jim's friend Sheila.

She's waiting for news.

"Nothing yet," I tell her.

"I'll wait to hear from you," she says.

We're all waiting – through phone calls and e-mails, through fears, tears and exhaustion.

And also prayer vigils.

Why prayer?

It's Advent, the season in the Christian calendar that precedes Christmas.

Advent is a sacred space set aside to plumb the depth and breadth of what it means to wait and pray for peace, for reconciliation – no matter how frightening, how painful the Birth.

Waiting in a Nazi cell, the Jesuit priest Alfred Delp confronts his fears and asks, "Are these hours of waiting preparation for an extraordinary Advent?"

For us, Jim's community of friends, it has already been an extraordinary Advent.

We stay awake with Jim and the others.

I know Jim well enough to know that whatever fears he might be suffering through right now, he is utterly aware of God's presence with him.

He once wrote, "Love of enemy is not an optional platitude. It is how I can discover myself to be created in the image and likeness of God, whose love embraces all beings, regardless of whether they are 'good' or 'evil.'"

Neither Jim nor Christian Peacemaker Teams is waiting for false freedom.

Neither Jim nor Christian Peacemaker Teams is waiting for some empire's shock and awe to deliver them.

Both Jim and CPT believe, as Oscar Romero put it, that "we live by that power that even death cannot overcome."

The training that CPTers undergo is not in the force of organized violence, but in the other force, the force of organized non-violence – what Martin Luther King called "soul force."

It requires the full participation of every one of us during this terrible waiting.

Abdul Ghaffar Khan, the great Muslim resister who risked his life many times to free India in the struggle against the "Christian" British empire, noted: "There is nothing surprising in a Muslim or a Pathan like me subscribing to the creed of non-violence. It was followed 1,400 years ago by the Prophet all the time he was in Mecca."

Both CPT and Jim's extended community are actively working every minute of the day and waiting for the unleashing of love that we have already experienced to open up a space in the captors, beyond their own wounds and fears.

"God often carries me as if I'm a sleeping child," wrote Alfred Delp from his captivity.

We pray that at this very moment Jim and the others may experience this same love.

********************** More coverage of Jim Loney

Saultite kidnapped, accused of spying in Iraq More on the Jim Loney story Saultites remember James Loney A tale of two fathers - by James Loney Statements from families of abducted peace activists World Council of Churches calls for James Loney's release The passionate Catholicism of James Loney Kidnappers to kill James Loney next week St. Gerard Majella to hold prayer service for Jim Loney Noam Chomsky fights for kidnapped Saultite Toronto fasts and prays for Jim Loney Loney family makes video for broadcast on Arab TV Pictures of a peacemaker Letters from James Loney's friends An old friend of Jim Loney's from Columbus Boys Camp Our family would like to express its deepest gratitude Deadline extended for James Loney Iraqi group kills U.S. security contractor More about James Loney Prayers for Jim Loney, from British Columbia From Iraq, only silence They're thinking of Jim Loney today in Grassy Narrows Jim Loney update A litany of resistance - by James Loney Plea to those who abducted the Four, by Yorifumi Yaguchi While the rest of us wait, by Len Desroches Volunteers line up to join Christian Peacemaker Teams

David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans seven decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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