In the last decade of my grandmother’s life, our conversations always began the same way. I’d say, “Hi, Grandma, how you doing?” And she, sitting in her chair, big dog at her feet and TV blaring, would roll her eyes and say, “Well, I’m still here.”
It’s so difficult to wait. Anna and Simeon in the Gospel today make it look easy, but that’s only because we’re catching them on the big day when all that was promised to them was finally fulfilled. How many children did Simeon see brought into the temple, year after year; how many times did his hopes arise, only to then realize, not yet? How many years had Anna, like my widowed grandmother, lived alone with only prayer and the memory of her husband to comfort her?
At times we all know that burden of expectation, that sense of a life promised but not yet achieved, that ache for a God not fully here yet. The Feast of the Presentation, like the life of Jesus itself, reminds us that all evidence to the contrary, God has not forgotten about us. And in Anna and Simeon we find friends who can walk with us when the waiting feels long and all we have is, “I’m still here.”
—Fr. Jim McDermott, S.J, a Wisconsin province Jesuit, is an accomplished professional screenwriter who lives at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles CA.