Number 8

Raye... I was waiting for you.

So There I was...

At the airport. Waiting. I was early. I had planned that. Then I became earlier as my expected person was delayed once, twice and then three times.

I ended up with eight hours of wait time.

I was able to see the blessing in it pretty quickly since it was 102 degrees outside and the airport had refrigerated air. I had the ability to purchase a good meal and a good book, and I like the airport.

It is a great place to people watch. Every type of person on every type of business passes through. The extremely elderly and newborn babes are assisted on their way. Business, commercial and personal, is pursued with determination. The entire repertoire of human drama gets replayed every hour or so, re-cast with every arriving plane.

As a bit of an empath, I have a distinct seating preference.
I stay away from the screening and departure area if I have a choice. People there are sad, leaving or being left. They are anxious and in a hurry. They are frustrated and sometimes angry at all the security nonsense.

I like waiting in the arrivals lounge. The anxiety is the good kind. It builds and builds as people wait, watching the clock and the corridor until it bursts in an explosion of joy when they see the much-anticipated one.

“MOMMY!!!!” screamed the three year old who escaped dad and got neatly around the guard and into his mother’s arms, and everybody, including the security guard, smiled.

Grandmas, babies, soldiers home from war.

Nothing stronger than the wave of relief coming off the weary young mother traveling with three under five, when she sees her parents waiting to help –
“Made it, made it, worth it already!”
The dramas are the same regardless of ethnicity or class. It’s all pretty intoxicating.

I spent a lot of time watching one young man. Twentyish, cool in a 70’s sort of way; self-possessed, long curly hair, a neat beard, dark shades. He was wearing baggy jeans, but a clean shirt – probably his best shirt. It had buttons.

He paced, checking the time on his cell phone, checking the arrivals board way too often. He was wise enough to have discovered an important life secret - Always bring flowers to the airport. The flowers were purple daisies – dyed – poor man’s flowers, which made him more endearing.

He held the flowers like a man holds flowers. Blooms down, drooping, casual, light grip, like he was carrying a bat up to the plate. He doesn’t care about the stupid flowers.

He cares a lot about the girl.

I wait with him, wondering what she will look like. Wondering if she loves him as much as he loves her. Hoping she hasn’t missed her connection. Would she have preferred the one red rose? Hope, belief, doubt, swirling around him like a cyclone.

The wait is getting to him. He presses one hand on his heart, and blows out a deep shuddering stress-filled breath. He adjusts himself – hold on, tiger. Then his phone rings and ends his agony. She is on the ground and couldn’t walk the length of the concourse without calling him. He grins, and charges the gate just like the three year old.

She’s pretty – very pretty – and runs to meet him.

Hugs, hugs, rocking hugs, and he kisses her on the forehead.
Then he remembers the flowers. Of course she likes them.

Waiting is so holy. Anticipation is so holy. Joy is so holy.

We Quakers say that we practice “waiting worship”.

We sit, silent, waiting, expecting the present Christ to arrive.
Our meetings are sacred arrivals lounges, or they should be.
I wonder how often we experience the level and quality of anticipation and joy that you see at the airport.

Maybe we should bring flowers.


Long waits in big tin cans that day, knowing it would be worth the trip. After the second delay, it was becoming a little unreal. It was indeed an exercise in waiting, an opportunity to spend time in prayer, and an arrival filled with gratitude.
Beautiful post carrying a lot of truth.

I used to attend a meeting where one woman brought flowers almost every First Day.
I just love you, Peggy. This made me so happy today. I love that time at the airport, too. One night-late-kimberly and I were there, along with a large number of people holding balloons and flowers, yet who obviously didn't know one another. the flight finally arrived-babies for adoption. Pure magic.
Wow, Gail, a planeload of new babies - that would pretty much push me over the edge!
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