"We're flying! We're flying!"
The little girl sitting across the aisle squirmed in her seat and raised her hands in the air. Pure elation. Her very first plane ride.
There was just one thing. Despite her enthusiastic squeal, the plane was still locked to the airport. We weren't even moving, let alone flying.
Her mother, who was simultaneously holding an infant while supervising the iPad usage of her oldest son sitting on her right, patted her back and spoke softly:
"Almost, honey. Almost. We haven't left the ground yet."
I smiled into my copy of Emily Giffin's Something Borrowed. How precious that she was already in the midst of a wild ride, and the passengers weren't even finished climbing over limbs and carry-ons to their seats yet.
Just wait, I thought. Just wait until we all surge forward together. When we hear the landing gear pop into the bottom of the plane and we swoop into the clouds.
You think this is flying? Just wait.
A similar benediction was given by a pastor at a wedding. There, I was fortunate enough to stand beside a very dear, talented and vivacious woman as she married the love of her life.
The bridal party rallied on the borderline of the couple's vows. The pastor held up the wife and husband-to-be's new silver bands. He spoke in wisps and echoes of the words many of us have heard spoken at wedding ceremonies before:
You think you love each other now? On this day? Trust me. The love that you have today, in your white gown and your rented tuxedo, pales in comparison to the love you'll share ten years from now...
Wait until your first child is born.
Wait until you walk through your first tragedy together.
Wait until you learn to compromise. Or find that you're capable of unspeakable forgiveness. The kind of forgiveness you thought was reserved for Biblical heroes. Or people like Mother Teresa.
You think this is love? Just wait.
Here's the thing though: the beautiful bride and her husband loved each other enough to commit their lives to each other. They had to love each other first. Their actions, the walking-down-the-aisle and the cutting-the-cake bit seems to say more about their patience and adventure for accruing an even higher level of love.
Their love for each other didn't just wait. It grew.
A few weeks ago, an article about waiting received a little more attention that I was prepared for. From the blogging aspect, certainly. But also from the relational standpoint. Because, as it turns out, there is no person, no relationship–even those that have "Cinderella time" boundaries in place–that's immune to the agony of waiting.
Not just for what the "true love waits," abstinence implication of it all. But for that level of intimacy. For being committed to someone and knowing that they are spiritually and legally bound to you. In rich times, in poor times, in no-matter-what-times.
Many of us get lost in a sea of waiting. It paralyzes us from enjoying the good in our lives. It seems like the waiting can be a trap if we're always looking for the next level, the next life-item to check off of our "to do list."
Twenty-somethings, myself very much included, can get lost a hurricane (emphasis on "hurry") of dating to engaged. Engaged to married. Married with a kid. And the next kid. And the next. And a bigger house. And a better career.
You think this is flying? Just wait.
But, if I could choose, I'd want to be the like the little girl on the airplane. I'd rather have a zeal for every stage. For every part of life and flying. I want to be so absorbed in the goodness of the day-to-day that I forget I'm not even off the ground. Yet.
Can we enjoy the stage we're in? Can we lose the ability to get caught up in waiting? Can we stop focusing on what we don't have (or what we can't do) just yet and enjoy our current seasons?
Can we choose to get so caught up in the moment that it almost doesn't matter that we're sitting on a plane that hasn't lifted into the sky?
Can we say to each other, "Yes, friends. We're flying. Open your eyes and enjoy this day and this stage. And when we do finally leave the ground, it only gets better."
You think this is flying? It is. It is.