Sharon Denise Allison-Ottey
From My Heart To Yours

The Gift of Delay

Sharon D. Allison-Ottey, MD

I sat on a plane recently feeling angry that we were delayed by over an hour. “How dare they just waste my time!” I thought as I reflected on the fact that we were rushed on board, taxed out of the gate only to park and sit off to the side of the runway. My cell phone battery was dying, I’d looked at the same fashion magazines over and over --- I was tired of seeing the pale, bone thin models that I desperately wanted to feed on the pages. I pulled out my pen and pad and began to doodle, all the while becoming angrier that my plans were delayed. My evening was planned; I would work for an hour or so then go for a swim, dinner with my husband and then I would watch my favorite movie for the gazillionth time. After grueling meetings in New York, I needed the break and now my precious plans were being interrupted by the stupid airline.

In the midst of my growing anger, I hear God speak and it hit me like a ton of bricks; in the grand scheme of things did this delay really matter? Seriously, this one and a half out of the thousands of hours in my life meant nothing. I spent too much time and energy being upset about the delay versus enjoying the moment of no cell phone, no internet, no husband, no interruptions, no clingy girlfriends in crisis or any other disturbances. I was on a plane with other people but I was really alone, what a miracle! I had time to inhale and exhale. This was not an annoyance or inconvenience; this indeed a gift. I smiled inwardly as I whispered a prayer of thanks for the gift. My entire perspective changed; I savored the wait—I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, I smiled as I wrote a quick poem and drew a pretty flower on my pad. All too soon, I heard the captain announce that we would be taking off in a few minutes and too my surprise, I was disappointed to know that I would be heading back to my world full of “stuff” in a few moments.

So I tell you—the next time you’re unexpectedly delayed whether on a plane, in a traffic jam or whatever… Sit back and take a deep breath and enjoy the time, actually close your eyes, savor the gift of delay and let your imagination run free. Imagine your life hassle free, no issues that plague you, no regrets, no failures, simply imagine PEACE. These moments may be God’s way of slowing you down and allowing you time to recognize His greatness and perfect timing.