"As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept."
What does it mean to wait? What changes this act from simple passivity into an intentional activity? I wonder if it is not perhaps some future event one holds in one’s mind. All of the maidens wait for the bridegroom and their energy is focused on his arrival, though they know not exactly when that will be. And yet, all of the maidens recognize the bridegroom when he does finally arrive—even those who were unprepared.
It seems then that waiting and recognition are tied together somehow. In thinking of what is to come, what may look like a period of stillness is transformed into an act of moving toward something, if only interiorly, an activity that in fact involves our whole being. Perhaps, we may say it this way: waiting is the moment of recognition extended through time.
“*Behold* the bridegroom!” All of the maidens were waiting for him, all of the maidens recognized him upon his arrival. What then separates the foolish from the wise? Might we say that the difference lies in how completely the maidens let the act of recognition transform their period of seeming stillness, transform this interiority? The foolish know the bridegroom, but do not let this recognition affect their whole selves. The wise let it in and transform all their other activities, so that their waiting truly becomes an act of their whole being. Their waiting becomes, ultimately, an offering.
Art: Jess Velarde | "The Space Between" | oil on panel | 2021