As I write today’s blog, I am waiting with joy for several things, right here and right now.
First, I am waiting with joy to spend some holiday time with my family. We are en route, my daughter and I, to the little town in which I was born and raised. There will be snow (or, at least…there may still be snow since I now am reading that it rained all day). There will be all the usual moments that come with families, of course. My daughter and I will sleep in the fold out couch bed in the living room, and fight over bedtimes and blanket sharing. But, there will also be the baking of Christmas cookies, the making of cards, the visiting of family, the hugging and pajama-wearing-until-noon and general slower and relaxed pace. There will be the smell of country air, and the train whistle I grew up hearing around the clock. These are the moments I will be intentional in seeking, finding, and savoring. For these irreplaceable moments that I will treasure, I am waiting with joy.
I am waiting with joy for our plane to arrive. I am assured that this will be happening, and that the four extra hours this trip is going to take us will result in a safe landing. I know they’re serious…they even put out snacks to keep us happy. I find it funny that this makes a serious impression on me. It may only be pretzels, peanuts, and sodas but it means something. Snacks are what you serve people you want to spend time with. They are hospitality. Even if they are branded with airline logos, I feel respected. I was not asked for identification to prove I was a waiting passenger. I was simply invited to partake. That familiar welcome, radical hospitality, mercy…well, it is a feeling that resonates to my core. I partook of pretzels and ginger ale as I was waiting with joy that first hour.
Now, I am waiting with joy for cappuccino and cannoli. These will be delivered in a few minutes to my iPad furnished space here in the middle of JFK airport. My daughter is waiting with gleeful joy for this. When else can I say, “Go ahead, sweetheart, order dessert while you play games on the iPad…and would you like extra whipped cream in your cocoa?” while I indulge in my own blog-writing. These four hours of time are not a painful wait. We have done some Christmas shopping, eaten two huge slices of New York pizza, and now we await dessert. We are about to savor chocolate chip cannoli and then we will find a corner and watch Elf which Google Play just gave me to download on my android device. Joy. We are waiting in indulgent joy found in our current surroundings.
It occurs to me that I could be bitter, or frankly, pissed. I am, after all, in the midst of a flight delay. I am doing this with my tween as travel companion. A couple years ago, there is no doubt that I would have been firing off strongly worded choice phrases and pacing. But, life is short. Losing people we love will teach us that. Raising a rapidly growing young person will instill those lessons. Intentionally starting and ending one’s day in communion with the Spirit that surrounds us will convince us…and has convinced me…that the sacrament of the present moment really is the most amazing part of living life. The present moment holds grace and gratitude that cannot, and should not, be missed.
My cannoli and cappuccino have arrived, and my flight will board in an hour. My daughter just proclaimed that the strawberries on the side are the Best. Ever. The rental car will be there when we land. My mother will be waiting in her pajamas for her granddaughter to run in the front door and hug her. The gift of the present moment is already here, and joyfully awaiting with the next step, too.
I am waiting with joy. Right here. Right now.