A fond childhood memory is riding the bus downtown with my grandmother. Aside from the enjoyment of the day’s activities, one of the things I most looked forward to was the bus lineup. I don’t know if it was the uniformity of those big ole buses or what, but the lineup of 10, maybe 15 large Metro buses was very impressive.
Recently returning from vacation (it was a balmy 68 degrees out of town, and I came home to a frigid 9 degrees – brrr), our airplane was one of several in a lineup. The pilot announced that we were fourth in line for takeoff, and he appreciated our patience while we waited our turn. I was as mesmerized and impressed by the lineup of airplanes, as I had been by the buses when I was a child. I stretched and crooked my neck as much as possible in order to look out of the tiny window and see the planes in front of ours take off, and the ones behind us slowly taxi forward.
So often, we get frustrated, impatient, envious, or angry when we see others embarking on journeys while we appear to remain stagnant or stationary – waiting for our own takeoff. We see other people taking flight, as it were, and we want the same thing. Like each bus or airplane in a lineup, each of us has different destinations. Further, each of us has different paths we must travel to reach our destinations. Finally, the appropriate schedule for one may be totally inappropriate for another.
To illustrate, I was talking with a young man yesterday who shared that he’d been offered a job he’d long been hoping to obtain. After expressing congratulations, I asked if he was excited, and he replied “kinda, but I wish it would have come through earlier; I applied for this job a long time ago.” Immediately I thought about the airplanes and busses.
My wish for that young man, for all of us, is to appreciate our journey, and embrace our position in “the lineup”. Where you are meant to go, I may not be meant to go. Your time to launch is yours, not mine. Can you imagine if all airplanes took off at the exact same time, headed in the exact same direction? Chaos and devastation would surely result.
As much as I strained to watch the other planes take off, I had no idea where they were headed. I had no idea where each plane had previously travelled, and what it took for each one to be ready for takeoff. Our time is best spent being grateful for our own journeys, even with the turbulence, lay-overs, and other inconveniences. No matter where you are in the “lineup”, your time is coming. Embrace your journey, after all – it’s YOURS.