Holding Pattern

Landing in Vizag, India was always an adventure as the runway is very short.  I was prepared for a rough ride.  However, after a bumpier descent than normal, the plane quickly made a vertical ascent back into the skies.  My stomach dropped as the plane shifted gears, changed directions, and headed upwards instead of down.  Fellow travelers, gripping their armrests, simultaneously let out sounds between a whimper and a cry like passengers on a roller coaster ride.

Reaching the appropriate altitude, the pilot steered the plane toward another city.  On the ground in Vizag, a storm was in full swing reaching typhoon status.  We headed in a different direction than the one we set out for.  After circling the airport of the new city, for a significant amount of time, I wondered how much fuel could possibly be left in the tank.  Finally, we landed and our “feet” were firmly on the ground.  Seatbelts unfastened in unison, as flight attendants scrambled to remind everyone to stay in their seats.  The volume level steadily increased, as people wondered aloud what was next.

The pilot came over the intercom and told us we would need to wait until the storm calmed in Vizag and we would return.  This new airport was not expecting an international flight so late at night.  Customs and immigration officers were probably at home having dinner or preparing for bed.

Therefore, we sat and waited inside the plane.  We waited so long the passengers began to complain loudly; feeling traumatized, hungry and tired. In response, the airline and the airport staff worked together so that we could disembark.  They put all the passengers up at a hotel for the night. Early the next morning, we boarded another plane and headed to our right destination in Vizag.  The storm had passed.  We landed safely, making it to where we were meant to be.


Sometimes life has unexpected changes in direction.  Often during these times, everything gets thrown into the air.  We find ourselves waiting for the dust to settle before it all becomes clear again. We can get stuck in a holding pattern for a while.  So, we must wait.  It’s not convenient to wait.  None of us like to wait.  However, waiting is part of walking this life journey.

 “When one door closes, another door always opens – but those long hallways in between are a real drag.” ~ by Betty Wooten

I find myself in a time of waiting.  At first, I pushed back by complaining.  There are times I’m not too bad at waiting but there are other times I struggle against it.  No matter what anyone says, waiting doesn’t get easier the older we grow.  Contemplating what I’ve learned during this holding pattern in my life, I thought I’d write my musings down.


A better way to live day to day is to set aside the angst involved in waiting and accept the season I am currently in.  Instead of struggling against this holding pattern, I am striving to relax.

I am where I am.


I have also been working on steering my mind away from obsessing on the real or perceived errors and mistakes of the past. The past that brought me to my present point where I am circling, waiting to land in the right place at the right time.  Though it’s beneficial to reflect and assess, the truth is the past is set in stone.  There is no going back in time and changing it.

So why obsess?

Tongue in cheek, there have been times I wished to be Superman.  To fly counter-clockwise around the earth to change a life event.  Unfortunately, this dream has not yet been realized.


Amid the inconvenience of waiting and change in direction, I need to live in the present.  Even if I’m waiting for something else in the future.  We’ve all heard the adage that “something” is waiting just around the corner.  The corner may be very near or very far down the road, depending on our life journey.  We rarely know the timeframe for the next corner.

I must live while I wait.


Time spent waiting can be beneficial.  A waiting period can be a season to refresh.  In several ways, this current waiting time has provided me a chance to refuel.  My tank was nearing empty and I hadn’t realized it until I stopped moving.  I’ve taken moments to stop for an emotional break by relaxing; reading, planting a tiny indoor garden, swimming, walking in nature, re-learning to play the piano, slowing my mind by meditating and prayer.

Waiting can refresh.


Waiting periods can also be a season of personal growth.  Timeout to assess our physical well-being, making changes in our lifestyle as it pertains to nutrition and fitness to become a healthier version of ourselves.  To develop ourselves by learning a new skill or acquiring professional training. Working on goals is beneficial to us now and in preparation for what’s around the corner.

Waiting can be beneficial.


Also, looking away from our own circumstances, and reaching out to others, can help relieve the stress of anxiously looking up the road for the next thing.  Slowing down to care for or do something nice for someone else is a way to live well.  The “love our neighbor” principle is a good way to live and to wait.

Loving others while we wait.


Often we are so anxious to get to the next step, the next phase, to what waits around the corner, we miss out on living well and taking opportunities to love others and to grow.  So, I will find ways to live well while I wait.  To keep my hands occupied and my mind at peace.  To work on personal goals.  Who knows, maybe what I am doing while I’m waiting is as important as what I am waiting for just “around the corner.”


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