The Guideposts editor-in-chief shares why being impatient will not change time.
I am blogging to you from O’Hare airport in Chicago. Again. Last time, I think, I was marooned at the gate waiting endlessly for my delayed flight back to New York to board.
This time they boarded us and we are now waiting endlessly on the tarmac. We’re not going anywhere soon because they have allowed—and tacitly encouraged, I believe—us to use our electronic devices as a way to distract us from the interminable waiting. So here I am with my device.
I admit I struggle with impatience, and people who know me and are reading this are probably laughing that I have to say that I admit it. Because why shouldn’t I be in a fully natural state of impatience? Why shouldn’t things happen when I want them to? I want to get back to New York.
I have a few things to do at the office—this blog, for one—and I want to do some work on a book I’m writing for GUIDEPOSTS on the power of personal change. And then I want to get home and see Julee and Millie. Especially Millie, because for some reason her dog brain thinks that when I go away there’s a very good chance I’m never coming back.
I’m definitely not the most impatient person on this plane, though. There’s a lady a number of rows up from me berating her poor travel agent on her cell phone about a flight connection she absolutely has to make. And a baby is crying too. There’s also a couple of soldiers and I can bet they are none too happy. Soldiers do enough waiting.
But something funny happened just a second ago. A woman stood up to forage for something in her suitcase in the overhead and I noticed the scripty message on her big t-shirt: Pray in your time, Wait in God’s.
Impatience is ALL about our relationship with time. It’s not about airlines or people or process. That’s frustration. Impatience is a more cosmic, even metaphysical, defect. That great and all too often realization that we—none of us—control time. And we all want to. We try, oh we try so hard sometimes, but that woman’s t-shirt drove the thought home for me, one of those serendipitous reminders I get when I really need them. Time is the single most powerful force in the universe in that all other forces of nature are subjected to it. It took Einstein to explain this to the rest of us.
And besides I’ve had a really rocky relationship with time this morning. I was late for this flight to begin with because I forgot something important in my hotel room rushing to get to the airport (rushing being another attempt to control time thinking that you will slow it down if you hurry up). I had to turn the taxi around and retrieve my forgotten item and by the time we got back on the road time was getting tighter.
I get to O’Hare only to realize that there is a typo on my itinerary and my flight is actually scheduled to go out an hour earlier than what it says on the defective piece of paper I hold in my trembling, impatient hand. I will never make it until I see that…yes, the flight has been delayed to the exact time my misinformation said. It is clear that I am in control of nothing today.
So here I sit with a blog to write, a book to produce, a dog to love and a wife to hug and I’m not going anywhere.
Except I am. I’m going to that woman’s t-shirt that reminds me that only God lives outside time, the only logical explanation for his omnipotence. He created time even before he created us. In fact he had to create time to create the universe, so that the universe would have something to exist in so we could have something to exist in. Time. And here I am, sitting in the back of a plane complaining about a tiny ripple in it.
Typical, I suppose.
God, I’d like to go home now but I’ll wait until you are ready.
That didn’t take long. The stewardess just asked me to turn off my device. Bye, device. We’re going to take off now. We’re going home.
Edward Grinnan is the Editor-in-Chief and Vice President of GUIDEPOSTS Publications.