The weak tea in a Styrofoam cup accompanied by two signature Delta airline ginger cookies tasted like a feast. I was sitting on a plane en route to Boston after a short layover in the Atlanta airport. We had boarded at 6:40 in the evening and at 9:30 we were still sitting on a plane that had lost its antiseptic smell long before and was now beginning to reek of dirty socks.
Anticipating smooth transitions and a quick flight I had not changed from my business grey dress and high shoes; shoes that magically transformed me from short to tall, demanding only a blister and achey feet as payment.
Everyone felt the tension when the flight attendant first announced that we would be delaying take-off. He “hoped we’d understand that it was not safe to travel in thunder and lightning”.
A couple of minutes after his announcement, rain of Noah’s kind began pouring down. The tiny oval-shaped window gave a limited view but it was enough to see pelting rain and lightning. The thunder was loud and ominous, adding its stamp of validity to the words of the flight attendant.
And we were enclosed in the space between. There was no where we could go and nothing we could do. We weren’t in the middle. In the middle we at least would have known we were going someplace. We were in the space between. I was cold and achy and I was in the space between.
The spaces between. Spaces of insecurity and restlessness; spaces of tension and anxiety; spaces where we want to know the answers. Spaces where we ache from shoes too tall or circumstances too big.
The resigned, the practical, the matter of fact would tell me “There is nothing you can do, you just have to wait it out.” And I know this is sound advice – to a point.
But perhaps in the space between I am provided with the best possible context for praying. Prayer for restlessness to be replaced with rest, tension with peace, anger with calm.
A crowded plane of people growing increasingly perturbed and anxious set the stage for this space between. My heart was the actor, my words a prayer. A prayer that in this space between I would remember there is One whose authority is over all space and time. And in remembering, rest.