People are constantly surprising me. I sat in several airports throughout Sunday trying to make it back home from San Francisco. As hours passed, my exhaustion and temperament morphed into a cocoon. I couldn’t speak. I was out of commission. I wore out my IPOD’s energy twice that day…drained from trying to block out all noises. It was a very long day that began at 3AM and did not end until 1AM. I was traveling on stand-by. Flights were full, over-booked and people were joining together in a pool of hostility. There are two places that bring out the worst in our spirits: airports and hospitals.
During one of those moments of charging my IPOD I sat in the terminal people watching. A couple in their mid-forties sat across from me. They had just been married and were on their way to Hawaii for their honeymoon. Observing their interaction was endearing, and a bit challenging. She was all about the details, and constantly speaking to him as if he was a child (and this was the beginning of a marriage). Next to them an older man sat making facial expressions to their comments while he read. He was unaware I was watching him as well. Two seats down a mother and teenage daughter sat arguing about a book and snacks. The remarks made me giggle as I have had those moments with my children. A row down a French couple sat with their son watching a movie on an IPAD. The young boy laughing in French…very sophisticated, I may add. Their loudness and expressions were welcoming. I couldn’t mustard a single expression by this point. I wanted to get home to my bed. I was tired of waiting while my patience was wearing thin. Flights would arrive and leave and I sat there stoic with a huge concern: will I ever make it home today? Thousands of people in one building, each traveling in and to some destination. The one thing we had in common: waiting.
We meet souls every day waiting for the next path to appear in life. We come in contact with hundreds of personalities, thousands of emotions, and millions of words. Yet, there in that airport things become magnified as we are forced to patiently wait. Uncertainty, frustration, and chaos add to the aggravation of allowing the airwaves and weather to dictate our travels.
What is it about waiting that puts us in such a state of exhaustion and anxiety? We wait for the birth of a child, phone calls, messages, plans, dreams, people, the perfect job, the mate of our fantasies, and ultimately the day of our death. We spend our lives waiting and waiting for the next moment, a big break, precious time and most delusional…we wait for someday in order to begin our lives.
We are so accustomed to interject our dreams and desires onto the future. We run around planning, excavating, developing strategies to get from point A to point Z. Unfortunately we get sucked into the anticipation and expectations of waiting. I am not a patient person by nature. Lord knows I work real hard to sit and allow things to happen. Patience is not my strongest virtue. I want things done now and I push to create them to happen quickly. Because of this I have had many failures (which have been turned into giant blessings) that have taught me to sit in a corner in time-out and wait. I’ve voiced out to the sky many a times, “Is this for real? Seriously! What the hell is going on?” But, ultimately, it is all in God’s plan. I cannot dictate what’s in store for me. The Waiting Game becomes a source of entertainment and exasperation…where and how do I get from here?
I spent the larger part of my life waiting on something or another. I waited to see what I could become as a person, how I was going to mother my children, how I could make someone happy, and mostly, how I could start being happy with myself. As a child I waited to become a teenager. As a teenager I waited to be of legal age to make my own decisions. As an adult I waited to become something…anything of importance while discarding the obvious: I was always important. While waiting I forgot to live in the moment.
Sitting in those airports reminded me of the things missing out while we wait. We forget to engage in life and the present. It is a giant gift to wait and cherish the process of the journey. I am in awed at the human spirit. I’ve waited forever to get to this moment of witnessing the best version of myself. In that waiting I have participated in seconds, minutes, and years of grace, hope, and love. May you find peace in a platform of waiting and cherish the journey as well with patience, faith and the understanding that all things have purpose.
“It is very strange that the years teach us patience – that the shorter our time, the greater our capacity for waiting.” – Elizabeth Taylor