I’ve written before about the Advent season, about things gestating, about the wild, restless time before change happens, about changing the world just by being in it and about the unreserved yes. Years ago I heard wise words from Michael Meade, who talked of transcendence and the spiritual life but cautioned that for some people, the spiritual is not challenging. The bigger task is actually to incarnate oneself more fully. This resonated strongly. A friend told a story of a woman she knew who could remember being about three years old and thinking, “This was a mistake; I never should have come here,” by which she meant, being born into the world. I can also remember thinking that, in a way, and I’ve lived most of my life on the edge of my proverbial chair, not fully willing to commit, more comfortable escaping into the spiritual and intellectual than planting my feet on terra firma.

Advent is all about incarnation. The oldest stories tell us that spirit wants to be incarnated, and the Christian story is only one version of that. There must be something to it, descending to this plane, if even God saw the value.

This year has shaken my faith in that idea all over again. Losing my mother, especially, shook ground I didn’t know existed, and there have been days when faith that there is reason and value to our being incarnated like this, in this particular world, has all but left. What’s the use of this screwed up system of living in time and space, where aging and death and grief are universal? My profession doesn’t always help with this. There are days when I feel more pulled by the awfulness some of my clients have endured than by their amazing courage and resilience in healing. I see Mom in more than a few of these stories, both the trauma and the courage.

This Advent season, I find myself reading what I’ve written in years past, and investing in faith that whoever wrote those entries had the right idea. The challenge this year, in the midst of these big questions, these big doubts, is still to live the unreserved yes. Some days I do better at that than others. But today, the act of writing is enough of a faith in incarnation, in the idea of manifesting something in time and space. For today, this one small act is a “Yes.”