"The flight has been delayed one hour." I was greeted with the news two hours prior to the regularly scheduled flight back to LaGuardia. I had three hours "to kill." Heschel's words darted into my mind: Killing time is spiritual homicide.Time is more than money; it is life itself.
I took a seat in the waiting area. The delay's end seemed distant. I opened my Talmud and proceeded to study the "daily page"-"daf yomi." The longer waiting period left me more leisure time to study, an activity usually eeked out of daily activity and demanding work schedules. I was grateful for this stretch of less stressed study time. With the study period over, another challenge to my time."Thank God for the NYT crossward puzzle!" I exclaimed quietly.
In the midst of struggling to fill in those boxes ,a static filled voice suddenly announced the departure of my flight.
Thousands of feet in the air, after several frustrating attempts, mysteriously the words finally fit the boxes, and I successfully completed the puzzle.
We approached NYC. "Ladies and gentlemen.This is your captain speaking. Heavy runway traffic at LaGuardia will delay our landing by another half hour. We apologize...."
Peering out the window I found myself absorbed in the beauty of the plump, fluffy clouds forming endless stretches of white bumpy beds . Above, a canopy of vast blue.
I was suspended beyond the clouds, earthless, groundless, hanging in the atmosphere's apparent emptiness. A verse from Job popped into my head: "Toleh eretz al b'limah"-Who suspends the earth over emptiness.
Manhattan came into view. A soundless and motionless metropolis, its skyscrapers miniaturized by vertical distance. Apart and alone, a stick of green pointing skyward. The Statue of Liberty. This glimpse of green, seen by millions from huddled hulls in the sea, I now observed from the cuddled comfort in the sky. Millions of hearts filled with gratefulness for a new chance, a new opportunity, for freedom never before imagined.
I too was grateful for a renewed moment of reconsideration of a life and land taken for granted too often by too many.
We circled this breathtaking island several times. I was grateful not only for a safe landing but for the gift of grateful reveries and dreams fulfilled.