You’re at the airport and your flight to India is for 9:40 a.m. You’re checked in, just waiting to board. At 8:40 a.m, the call to board is heard so you make your way to the gate, and after your boarding pass is checked, you head to the hallway leading to your plane. You enter the aircraft, get settled in and wait for take off. Not long after, you’re India-bound. Everything is going as planned. You’ve been looking forward to this journey for months, especially after all the planning and saving. In just over ten hours, you would’ve reached your destination. You can’t wait. The taste of authentic samosas is almost tangible on your tongue and you picture the number of saris you would be coming back home with. You sigh in contentment and relax.
A while into the journey, though, an announcement is made via the flight PA system.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” the voice says, “this is your captain speaking. I’m afraid to inform you that there has been an unexpected issue with our flight. We will now be having, hopefully, a brief stopover in Chad. We apologise for any inconveniences caused.”
There is commotion. Not only that caused by the passengers on the flight, but commotion in your heart. How could this happen? This wasn’t the plan! A stopover? And in Chad?! Isn’t there crisis there? How…how could this happen? Not long after the announcement has been made, the plane lands and you all begin to disembark. You look at the faces of your fellow passengers—most are seething! Some look indifferent. But there are a few who are clearly taking it in stride. They’re certainly not happy, but they don’t look like the worst has happened, either. You all shuffle into an area of the airport to wait. Someone beside you asks the pretty flight official how long you would all have to wait before the journey continues. She tells you one hour, hopefully two. She says this with a smile. You clearly can’t do anything about the situation, so you sit back…and wait.
THE CITY OF THE WAIT
I’m the worst at waiting. People who have met me would say I have a very calm and reserved demeanour. It’s true; but beneath that cool facade dwells a very restless spirit. If I want it, I want it now. *Gasp* I looooove that dress!!! I have to have it now, now, now. Ehn!! That bag I’ve been eyeing for over three weeks is now on sale? Ah! I cannot sleep until I’ve bought it! In fact, I cannot close my eyes until I have it in my hands. What is sleep, kwanu? Sleep is for people who don’t know how to dream with their eyes open! Then you mistakenly promise to buy it it for me? And I remember…? O.Y.O! *evil laugh* May God deliver you from me. I will haunt even your dreams! *more evil laugh* Do you get the picture? Yeah…I really don’t like what I have now termed ‘The Wait’.
Life sometimes decides to break our journeys and have a stopover in the city of ‘The Wait’, most of the time without our consent. When I get there I feel like life is passing me by, even though it was life that actually brought me to that place. Sometimes my heart gets so overwhelmed, my already excessively active mind goes into overdrive and I become so filled with fear.
*Fear of how long I have to wait before I get to where I want to be.
*Fear that I may make a terrible and irrational decision out of desperately wanting to escape a current situation (thankfully that has never happened).
*And most of all, fear that after waiting, I still won’t be able to discern that the right time has come for me to make a move.
I wish I were writing this to proudly tell you I’ve conquered and I now know how to wait, but the truth is I’m learning. No, scratch that—I’m trying to learn but it’s so unbelievably difficult! Imagine trying to unlearn something to relearn another, especially at a very adult stage of your life. I can actually feel my natural self doing some Bruce Lee moves, refusing to be conformed into this new, patient person. It feels like my breath is being squeezed out of my chest and I have a strong urge to scream. Extreme? I’m sure it is but that’s exactly how I feel. Patience is a virtue, indeed.
SO, WHAT AM I TRYING TO SAY?
Sometimes there will be some unexpected stopovers in our life journeys. It’s OK to be annoyed. Only a few people welcome changes and diversions in already set plans. However, don’t stay upset. Don’t sit and mope or complain. Until the aircraft is ready to leave the location of the stopover, there’s absolutely nothing you can do. So look around. Explore. You’re in a new area. No matter how bad the setup is, there must be something, at least one thing, that you can gain from being in that place. Don’t grumble so much that you miss the essence of why you’re there. The delay may actually end up working to your advantage. And if you’ve been in that stopover location before, ideally, it should mean that you’re better equipped to handle the environment. You know what and what not to do. You know where and where not to go. Might I also add that if, like me, you’re a Christian, there’s no greater time, than this, to depend on God’s leading and guidance.
NOW HOW DO I END THIS NOTE?
I can only say that in life, a stopover in the city of The Wait is inevitable. Expect it. You may be lucky and you’ll find yourself in an area of The Wait filled with white sand, tropical trees dancing to the rhythm of a mild breeze with the smell of coconuts and boli in the air. On the other hand, you may find yourself in a totally different setup, but one thing is for sure—you definitely cannot be there forever and you continue your journey as one of three people. You become better, you become worse or you remain the same, depending on how you decide to use your time while waiting. My advice? Make becoming better your option. You definitely don’t want it to be that you suffered and got nothing out of your pain. It would be a shame, indeed.
Signing out with love, from the City of The Wait,