We waited. With engines turned off, the central air on the plane stopped working. I began to sweat. I knew no one, and spoke only a few words of the language. I had known my study abroad in Costa Rica would be an adventure. But now, stuck on the tarmac in Panama, waiting out a lightning storm, my anticipation was tempered with worry. How would I find my host family? What would Costa Rica be like? Would I be safe running alone there? What time would we arrive? Could I learn the language?
Waiting multiplied my worries. I brushed my bangs back into my headband, wiped the sweat beads from my brow and tried to smile as the plane sat on the tarmac.
Eleven years ago, I waited on that plane. Finally we were allowed into the air again and the flight landed safely in Costa Rica, six hours behind schedule. After we shuffled through customs and luggage inspection, I huddled with the other students on the dark sidewalk, squinting through the yellowed lights at the city that was to be our home for the next four weeks. I was paired with my roommate and the family we were to stay with. I hardly understood a word that was said, but we managed to get home and fall into bed in the wee hours of the morning. And then a beautiful month of my life unfolded.
Now, here I am--grounded in the last two months of my third pregnancy. I know that soon I will be in the throes of a new adventure with three children, two hands, two parents. But while I am here on the tarmac, in a holding pattern, not knowing when the baby will come, not knowing what the baby will be like, not knowing how my body will cope with the delivery and beyond, I am stringing worries together like beads on a necklace.
I am a doer, a planner. This waiting, this lack of control, makes me sweat. It gives me prepartum depression. (Is there such a thing?)
So much of a woman's life is spent waiting. I don't mean waiting in the sense of not doing anything. I mean waiting in the sense of not knowing. Right now, my waiting hinges on children. How many? When will they come? What can I do in between them? How can I plan out my life with all this uncertainty? What kind of mother will I be with three kids?
Sometimes I think of the scripture, "Be still and know that I am God." But sometimes this very scripture turns into another bead of worry to string on my necklace. I try to be still. I do. And I try to remember that after all my waiting in that airplane in Panama, my bead-strung worries are now sea-shell memories of one of the best times of my life.
What are your best methods for "being still"? Do you have any tips for cheerfully enduring all the waiting?
Photo by John Steven Fernandez Dallas Fort Worth