Stephen D’Evelyn on Tarrying

Sometimes we know things by not knowing them.

On Saturday I was using the Book of Common Prayer. One of the Psalms for the service concludes with the mellifluous and mysterious words ‘O tarry thou the Lord’s leisure.…’
Something here in the combination of waiting–tarry–and delight–leisure–struck a cord.

Here the New Revised Standard Version has ‘Wait for the Lord’. But for me there is something valuable in remembering that God’s waiting –and waiting for and waiting on God–is leisure. It is not geared to or measured by productivity or a measured outcome.

Such productivity is notoriously disadvantageous to people who do not fit the norms and expectations of efficiency. Waiting is not wasting. Our waiting is divine delight, the Lord’s leisure.

When we find ourselves still at the bus stop as evening approaches, maybe we will also find a new scent on the wind or a new tree in blossom across the road. When we wait we witness new things and things growing and growing older. That waiting can be a kind of not-knowing by being still.

And so we find delight and find ourselves the source of delight.


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