One of my other favorite poems is called ‘Waiting’ which is written by John Burroughs. The first line says, “Serene, I fold my hands and wait.” But this time, I decided not to fold my hands and wait during an unexpected flight delay. Instead, I leaned towards Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s advice when he said “Learn to labor while you wait.” So, I decided to write a new blog post as I waited for the storms to lift.
The whole idea of labor reminds me that Labor Day weekend is coming very soon. I wonder how many of the youth really know what Labor Day truly signifies. Wikipedia says that it is “dedicated to the social and economic achievements of workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their country.”
My generation heard many of these sayings when we were growing up like “Make hay while it is day,” or “idle hands are the devil’s workshop” or ” stay as busy as a beaver.” I believe those idioms helped to shape me and gave me a sense of purpose and good work ethics. Also, I watched my parents go to work and they highly respected their jobs.
I wonder how many of our youth actually know the importance of labor and what it means. We had civics classes and we were taught to think about what we wanted to contribute to society as productive citizens. I think that the whole idea of labor should be revisited when speaking with our youth so they will make no small plans in their lives. Many of our youth simply do not see themselves as a part of the whole. Or, they have not been taught about the pride that comes with a job well-done.
So, I pulled out my trusty pen and ever handy paper and started writing. As I looked around, most of the people were on some type of technical device. But, I went the ‘old school’ route and wrote in longhand. Sometimes writing in longhand helps me to draw out my thoughts and I can make sure that my penmanship is still legible. Unfortunately, it seems that handwriting is becoming a lost art. I digress.
My delay was only 45 minutes but the people at the gate next to me had an eight or nine hour delay. I flipped through my writing pad and I saw something that I had written down from the book, Simple Abundance. How perfect! Author Sarah Ban Breathnach wrote, “After all, success is not how well we execute Plan A; it is how well we cope with Plan B. And for most of us, that’s 99 percent of the time.”
I truly labored as I waited. I think with age we learn that railing against fate does not change things. Things happen in their own time. Busy hands can make time go faster. Women of yesterday knew this and many knitted and crocheted as they occupied themselves and silently waited for some turn of events.
When we observe people who wait with grace, it often appears that there is no inner turmoil; but who knows how much percolating is actually going on inside. Breathnach also writes, “Be extra kind to yourself while waiting, making it as pleasurable as possible.” So, I drank a little more of my Coca Cola, continually wrote and amused myself by observing others as they waited. Just about the time that I was finishing this post, it was time to move forward and proceed to the gate. And voila, here it is!
Lynn August 26, 2014