“Daniel, you get there when you get there.” — My mother
I am writing this from an airplane, somewhere above the Atlantic Ocean. I am flying back to New York; my flight is, of course, late.
Flights are always late these days. I don’t remember when the idea of an “on time” departure became such a foreign concept, but by now, I’m used to it. You show up at the airport; you wait; eventually, if only by the grace of some airplane-loving deity, you do make your way to wherever it is you’re going.
There is a guy in the seat behind me who is pretty upset about being late. Maybe he’s making a connection at Newark, and he’s already missed it. Maybe he’s got an early meeting he’s missed. Maybe he’s just grumpy. It’s still 7 a.m., at least at this writing, and I understand that.
But of course, I hear the words of my mother: You get there when you get there. Flights are one of those things entirely out of your control. You will get there, and it may suck a little while you’re in the process of getting there, but you will get there.
Isn’t it always that way, though?
I’m thinking of Rick Short — a career minor leaguer who my Washington Nationals finally brought up to the majors a few years back. He’d been in the minors for a decade, and then produced a career year at the plate, hitting everything he saw. The Nats finally brought him up for a few games in September. It wasn’t the road he anticipated, I’m sure, but he got there when he got there.
Or Bettye LaVette. She was a Motown singer who never quite broke through in her time. Deals fell through; albums went unfinished. And then, maybe a decade ago, an album actually got out there, and it got heard. Then another album. Now she’s touring — in her 60s now, but finally with the career she always wanted. Again: Not the road she wanted, but she got there when she got there.
The road isn’t always what we want. We rarely get where we’re going as fast we want.
But if you’re moving, be thankful. You’re getting there.
At 26, it doesn’t always feel like I’m going where I want to go. And then I hear that voice: Daniel, you get there when you get there.
Some days, I’m not even sure where “there” is, but Mom, you were right. And it feels good to be on my way.
That photo of a plane comes via.