Mennonite Heritage Village

Actively Waiting

By Gary Dyck

The fact that we wait for something shows that in some way we already possess it. Waiting anticipates that which is not yet real. We wait in hope and patience, the power of that for which we wait is already effective within us… He who waits passionately is already an active power himself, the greatest power of transformation in personal and historical life. -Paul Tillich

At the Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV), we see history is not made in a few days or weeks, but over years and centuries. This long perspective can help us be patient in a time of transition where we wait for what we long for.

These days we do a lot of waiting. We wait in lines to get our toothpaste and milk, we wait in parked cars to get our fast food, and now we are waiting for this pandemic to go endemic. Some of us are so passionate about waiting that we drive across the country to wait for some news, while forcing people on the other side of bridges and borders to wait too. Everyone is waiting.

As our concern and fear of COVID dissipates, more and more of us will feel safe to release the emotions we have held back the past two years. In this time of greater safety, we must not hurt others with our untempered emotions. We must be patient as we wait just a little longer. Like a person who waits in line outside the bathroom door, it is always hardest to wait when relief is so near.

Another example is when a parent doesn’t know where their child is. They will look hard, try not to think the worst, and actively wait. When the child does appear, there is a deep sigh of relief immediately followed by an exclamatory, ‘don’t ever do that again!’, a rapturous hug followed by a hard punch to the shoulder. During this time of finding ourselves again, let’s be sure to not punch too hard. Emotions can be released, but should not break our relations. May our hope of a good future together not be overcome by frustration and impatience.

In a similar situation, a group of early Anabaptists violently stormed Münster city in order to usher in a new era. Their leaders ended up hanging from the Cathedral in the main square. Seeing this, a newly minted Anabaptist leader called Menno Simons became even more determined in his beliefs of ‘actively waiting’ and nonviolence. Menno fathered a movement that exists to this day – the Mennonites.

History shows active waiting that is discerning and creative can transform society for good, while active waiting that is spiteful only creates more harm. You can learn more about Menno Simons and other early Anabaptists in our galleries at MHV.

We hope to see some of you at the MHV’s upcoming Winter Carnival and Author’s night (details below). We recently, received a Travel Manitoba Tourism grant that is going to allow us to do a lot more winter programming next winter!

Upcoming Events:

  • MHV’s galleries and Village Books & Gifts are open Tuesday to Saturday, 9am – 5pm. Our award-winning ‘Mennonites at War’ exhibit is also available online.
  • Winter Carnival, February 19, 9am – 5pm. Save the date for our annual Winter Carnival! Admission is free and there will be plenty of fun activities for all ages. Proof of vaccination will be required.
  • An Evening with the Authors, February 23, 7pm. Join some of our local authors as they read from their books. The Village Books & Gifts carries a wide variety of local and Mennonite writers.