I’m on the airplane, and my inflight TV isn’t working. What am I supposed to do for two hours? No problem. I’ll take this time to relax and meditate. Well, that lasted all of five minutes. What’s wrong with me? Do I need to be entertained all through my waking hours? Can’t I sit quietly and just be? I could talk to the gentleman sitting next to me, but he seems to be fine looking out the window or closing his eyes. I’m just going to assume he’s an alien disguised as a human being and doesn’t know he should be upset with the current situation.
I usually have a book to read for such an emergency, but I relied on my passing the time with a fun movie that I didn’t bother throwing in a paperback. Reading is my favorite pastime unless I can escape boredom with the thrill of scrolling through a series of film selections. I should be content with doing nothing for two hours, yet I find myself worried that I’ll take this time to ruminate about the past or worry about my future. It doesn’t help that the baby behind me is having a terrible time. I’m not bothered by a little one crying, I feel bad, and I wish I could help. But, I’m pretty sure the parents are doing their best because their television doesn’t work either.
All I can do is sit and hope the snacks are good, even though I’m not hungry. I’m desperate to do something that will occupy my mind. I realize I’m trying to avoid this hollow feeling in my stomach that happens when I have to say goodbye to my dad. I try to visit him often, but it’s never enough. He’s ninety-two, and I can’t help but worry about him. He lives with my sister and nephew, who take excellent care of him. We know we’re lucky that my dad is in good health, mentally and physically, but he’s getting frail. I came in for ten days, and it went by so fast. My dad kept thanking me for visiting and wanted to know when I’d be back. My heart hurts.
Probably the best thing I can do for myself is to embrace the ache in my chest instead of trying to ignore it away. I recognize that I’m fortunate to have a loving father who was always supportive and encouraging. I’m glad I have the opportunity to tell him in person how much I appreciate everything he did for me. Sometimes he’ll say to me he wished he could’ve been a better parent and that my mother did most of the work. I remind him how he coached my softball team, bought me a drum set, and took me every Saturday for drum lessons. On my thirteenth birthday, he took me to see Buddy Rich and waited at the back door with me to get his autograph.
The best way to show our appreciation to family and friends is to let them know how they’ve enriched our lives. Words of gratitude need to be spoken as much as possible and should not be taken for granted. I’ve heard too many times of lost opportunities to tell the person they love how their actions and words helped them find their self-worth.
I’m glad that I can tell my dad how he’s impacted my life and how he’s helped me to grow. I’m blessed to feel this heartache because it means I’m loved. My dad may never realize how much he’s done for me, but I’ll keep refreshing his memory. I’ll be looking at flight schedules when I get home to see when I can get back to him. I’m sure by that time they’ll have fixed the TV.