It is strange that the years teach us patience; that the shorter our time, the greater our capacity for waiting. Elizabeth Taylor
The waiting IS the hardest part. Tom Petty, the late musician, nailed it when he wrote those lyrics. Today I pondered this annoying but inevitable part of life. It causes anxiety. It festers frustration. And it generally gets people agitated.
I thought about this topic while waiting to board a plane recently. We spent the additional money on “extra space,” which included allegedly “even more speed.” My husband does NOT like to wait. So while we waited, I chose to watch the fascinating, diverse behavior of those who surrounded us.
Although we thankfully breezed through a short line, the chaos at the gate proved to be a different story. Women, men, and children shoved and nudged their sweaty bodies toward the front. I watched my husband glance at our ticket as he rolled his eyes.
I understood how he felt without words. We chose to pay the obnoxious fee to get on the plane earlier. We are not haughty nor are we high maintenance. We did this for practical purposes. Our layover was tight, and we did not want to check any luggage.
Our jackets and small suitcases fit perfectly in the overhead compartment. We also sat next to a rather amiable, entertaining man from Yonkers, New York. When the flight became bumpy, I made jokes to distract him. (I am usually the person who dislikes turbulence; I was grateful to be able to help another passenger.)
This type of waiting—lines and flying—is truly minor compared with other scenarios. What about when we wait for results from a medical test? Or, the waiting to hear about an acceptance or rejection to college? And how about waiting to hear about a job, a new home, and other major life-shifting moments?
I call this the “space in between.” That’s the space in which our concerns run rampant like rapidly-growing weeds. Our imaginations may conjure the worst case scenarios. While we wait, we sometimes wonder what is next or how we will refocus our outlook if the news we receive is not what we wanted or expected. But life will unfold as it is supposed to, regardless of our worrying.
Today I challenge you, as well as myself, to exhale as you wait. Realize that whatever thoughts and feelings arise are to be acknowledged and then just observed. There is much to be learned from the space in between.
Flowers need space and oxygen to thrive. So do humans. Perhaps this period of waiting is a time to solidify our roots rather than wilt or shrivel. And maybe the space in between forces us to pause, to breathe, and to know that we can and will handle whatever comes our way.