waiting on joy pt.2: the holding pattern


waiting is something that no one wants to do. the senior pastor at irving bible church, barry jones calls it “a miserable word” and he’s right, we hate that word! no one hears without at least thinking their favorite curse word. at our very best, we hear “wait,” and then we pace, we fidget, and if we’re really good at it, we find something else to do. it’s the meantime; it’s mean, and it’s hard.


lack of control is one of the reasons that waiting is what is. no one waiting has control, anyone who thinks that they do is delusional. even if they’re baking a cake, the second they put it in the oven, they relinquish that control to time.

that cake metaphor is a good one because cake is one of the best things to wait for. we’re all waiting for “cake”. sometimes we can’t tell what we want more, to get it or to eat it. however, we aren’t in control, so we have to wait. if we were in control, we’d never choose to wait and all the things we wait for, or are waiting for would be here now. we’d have our cake and we’d eat it too.


keeping with metaphors; i’ve started looking at the concept of ‘waiting’ from the perspective of an airplane. as passengers, we are more apt to notice when a plane makes us wait, and we lose our minds when it does. delays and cancellations have caused many of our favorite viral tantrums. we are very slow to realize the waiting a plane does.


if a plane takes off before it’s time to, it is all but guaranteed to crash because its path isn’t clear so, it has the anticipation and the excitement that accompanies the waiting. for the most part, the plane knows that it’s going to get to act but it has to wait until it’s safe to do so.


i’m not going to lie, i rarely wait to act. i’m a jumper. more times than not i think, and i then do, and then i try to figure out what i’m doing on my way down. once my oldest son was mouthing off to me, and i told him to quit acting like he was planned. he retorted by telling me to stop acting like i could plan. the coldest burn i will ever get hit with.
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now going back to the airplane metaphor, assuming the best case scenario, the plane takes off, the flight is smooth, the passengers aren’t dicks, and it gets to its destination, yet it still has to enter a holding pattern. it just did all that it’s supposed to do and yet it still has to wait?!?
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let me pause for a moment to point out that holding patterns are circular. when in a holding pattern, airplanes slow down to close to half its speed and… pace.
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the airplane has to pace or crash. holding patterns are the closest we will ever get to bottling anticipation, and excitement. those emotions are all over the cabin. the crew has them, the passengers have them, and the plane have them too. fortunately, the plane also has the knowledge that if it does not wait, it will crash.
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if the aircraft avoids the holding pattern, it will crash. it’s not ready to be received and therefore it is not ready to land.
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and that’s my takeaway, if all the work is done, no steps skipped, and there’s nothing else to do, and yet i’m still not eating my cake; i have to wait so that i can safely land.
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