Dear Sor Juana,
I am being given a test in patience while waiting for my status to change from grandmother-in-waiting to grandmother. It is my patience that is on trial and my ability to not let my own anxieties spill over and infect the mother and father to be – or indeed the aunt and uncles and grandfather to be. I have not been entirely successful and there is definitely fraying at the edges with loose threads moving from invisible to visible. Containment is getting harder as the anticipated arrival of the next generation seems to take two steps forward and then one step back. So much of life is this dance of expectation, false alarms, failure to deliver while the invisible grows into visibility. Pregnancy is a great metaphor and I am learning that witness to arrival also has its lessons.
Waiting is vigilance with purpose. Being ready to greet what you are waiting for is never passive. You look for the cues, any little sign that the waiting is coming to an end. You prepare yourself for what is coming next, you have a heightened awareness and level of staying awake as so not to miss the moment when the waiting is over. Did you ever feel the anxiety of waiting for a party to start and wondering if anyone will come and then the relief when guests start to arrive and when it is all over you wonder why you didn’t trust your friends to turn up?
You were a lady-in-waiting Sor Juana before you entered the convent so you must of known something of what it means to anticipate what your mistress and the court wanted. Paying attention and having an ability to predict what is needed would have made you a valued member of the court. Your intellect and charm also endeared you and many enjoyed being able to put you to the test with a quiz to show off your intellectual capabilities – something it seems you relished. I am not relishing this test however, and I can’t wait for it to be over and being a lady-in-waiting of any kind, I am discovering is not a vocation coming easily.