Tarry and Watch

The failure to tarry and watch in times of darkness, stress and difficulty is the single most significant deterrent to man’s happiness and God’s fulfillment on earth. For specific reasons beyond the scope of this post, man has long been afraid of the dark. He dreads the unknown and desperately seeks to clothe the shadows of the future which cast themselves on the present in order to assuage his discomfort and palliate his insecurity.

Acting when the reason for, means and direction of action are unclear is the leading cause of futility and death in the world today. The sad thing is that it is totally unnecessary! Every thing that ever came to be moved through a creative process, a cycle which at one or several points in its unfolding was characterized by darkness, vagueness or impenetrable obscurity. This would not be a problem were there not a now well-established human habit of panicking in the dark.

You need not be afraid of the dark, but I unfortunately cannot say the perfect words, wave a magic wand or snap you out of this irrational fear with a clap of my hands. No one can lift this fear from you; it must be repelled from you from the inside out by virtue of your unwavering trust in beneficence of the light of love. Only perfect love casts out all fear.

I touched on this subject in a post nearly four years ago and I encourage you to take the time to read it once again for additional perspective on this matter. It is an important one, because as I said failure on this point has led to the bulk of human misery through the ages. If you cannot see a clear means of acting, by all means, don’t act! Tarry and watch, breath and listen. Don’t run around in a frenzy, don’t make huge life decisions and don’t abandon what you’ve known to be true when feeling your way around the darkness. Remember that darkness is a natural phase of every creative cycle.

When you tarry and watch you’ll find that pressure quickly builds around you. But caveat lector, this pressure is not building to crush you, it is building in part because of you! Moreover, it is moving toward the birth of a new and wonderful thing! It is mounting because you have not violated the cycle in your heart or mind out of reaction to the unknown. Nothing valuable was ever created without pressure.

The next time you find yourself in darkness, stress or difficulty, mark my words. You will have a choice: cut and run or tarry and watch. Do the former and you will relieve the pressure momentarily, but know that ennui and futility will quickly fill the vacuum of the aborted cycle. Choose the latter and you will be amazed by what starts to happen in and around you.

The choice is yours!

10 thoughts on “Tarry and Watch

  1. Troy

    This post is precious to me. It is so important to understand and much depends on the ability to “be still” and like a well trained dancer, move gracefully with the cycle. In the moments when it feels like I need to duck and run, and the desire for comfort tries to outweigh my commitments, this post stands as a great reminder to hold steady. Pressure can move out ill things and make way for the new, a comforting thought for someone who cares deeply about getting the job done. I enjoy everyone’s thoughts!


  2. Colin

    I think it is important to note that tarrying and watching does not necessarily mean inaction either. There is usually important preparation that can be carried out, if you are not so immersed in yourself that you are unable to complete this step. Both tarrying and watching are action verbs, and they should be carried out with a mind toward the next step.


  3. David R

    There are those times in any cycle when it is murky and unclear, not necessarily because of any problem but just due to the nature of the cycle at that point. Nothing is more vital than to learn to stay steady, to abide, at that point – creative restraint! The pressure natural to that situation can then gather to accomplish what comes next, but if that pressure is artificially dissipated, then what would come next can’t! Thanks for the excellent outline here.


  4. Ernest

    Patience and Objectivity come to mind as two principles to live by. Often times we become impatient and don’t allow what likely will be a beautiful outcome to materialize. How sad this is. I have observed countless people start something that might be truly worthwhile only to become impatient and try to force things to happen instead of allowing something beautiful to be created. Actually, I have noted this in myself and now that I know better attempt to both strive to allow things to finish and to encourage others too as well.


  5. Beth C

    It is so helpful to recognize and understand this sequence of darkness and pressure in a moment of light and ease. Here is a good time for honest self-examination to reveal the self-defeating strategies which are habitually employed. Note to self – “Next time be ready.”


  6. Lady Leo

    I’ve always thought of that darkness as a sort of valley in the ups and downs in everyone’s life. A dear friend always reminded me to never make life decisions when you’re in a valley. Often it’s not only your own discomfort but those around you, that will compel you to some sort of action; that will usually turn out to be a reaction that backfires. Trust and confidence in yourself, or the process you’re in, but ultimately in our Creator, will always strengthen the resolve needed to see this through. One more point is to keep doing your momentary responsibilities it is not the time to become inert.


  7. Isabelle

    One of the most important things to remember in the case of being lost in the wilderness is STOP, THINK and don’t panic. The acronym STOP stands for Slow down. Think clearly. Observe your surroundings. Plan each step carefully. This is also great advice for everyday life. Even if you may not have time to stop or think, you can certainly refrain from panicking or running around in the darkness, because you will be sure to get hurt. Tarrying and watching is a great way to describe this process.


  8. Carrie

    How many times have we taken the easy way out to relieve the pressure? There is such reward in holding steady and allowing the pressure to reveal the truth. The darkness is often times a scary place, the fear overwhelming, but once you come out of it trusting in the light of Love, you remember what you have forgotten and know the joy that allows your heart to dance and the light to shine in and around you. We have these choices in little moments every day, may I remember this and trust the light is still there even in the appearance of darkness as I tarry and watch for it to reappear with the clarity that Love always brings. May I always choose to rise up to the opportunities before me!


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