2B and the Pregnant Pilot

November 20th, 2017. Salt Lake City, Utah.

My attention is being lured by a rowdy leaf blower outside my hotel window. You guys should know by now to expect nothing more than my distracted writing. I should close the window, but the cool air slipping through is the perfect contrast to the 90-degree heat suffocating the room. Plus, it’s just enough noise to make me feel preoccupied.

Today was early. Disrespectfully early. I was out of bed by 2:30 a.m. for a 4 a.m. showtime at Newark. I’m convinced that early mornings need to be illegal: they’re non-functional. Despite my unwillingness to participate, I put on my best fake smile (and a face full of makeup) and headed out. No matter how bad the day may seem, an opportunity to turn it around will always present itself. And to be honest, it hasn’t been a bad day, 4 a.m. is just 4 a.m.

I ended up running into two strangers who made my day worthwhile. There wasn’t anything particularly special about these individuals, I just liked them. One was a female pilot (which is always a treat), but get this: she was pregnant! I don’t know why, but I found it both, intriguing and supremely precious. She’d just entered her third trimester and was positively beaming. She made me proud for many reasons, some I think I’ve yet to understand. Her glow was contagious and being around her made me cheery.

On the same flight, I served a 93-year-old woman at 2B. I’m terrible at guessing peoples age, but for sure she looked to be in her late 70’s. She stood patiently in my galley waiting to use the lavatory. Something in her demeanor told me she had grown use to waiting a long time ago. I busied myself putting away dishes and tidying up from the breakfast service, but the stale, wordless air seemed a bit awkward. Maybe because I’m a talker who wasn’t in the mood to talk. Nonetheless, I didn’t want to appear rude or standoffish. “Are you from Utah?” I inquired in a friendly tone. Of course she was hard of hearing. I repeated myself three times before the conversation took off. Once it did, I was glad I had asked. She has six children, eight grandchildren, and 25 great-grandchildren. I stood in shock. How amazing it must be to stand before three generations of one’s lineage. Her wrinkles turned upward with pride. I caught a glimpse of her eyes and wondered what tales were locked away in their depth. She told me– wait, can I give her a name? She obviously has one, but I didn’t think to look. Let’s call her Rose. Rose told me that she was originally from Utah. Her husband had fought in WWII and she moved to Boston with him right before he left. There, Rose resided with her love for 73 years. She didn’t say so, but I’m assuming her husband has since passed. “My son has been begging me for years to come back to Utah to live with him.” So there she was, headed to Salt Lake City to start a new chapter of her life at the very place it had begun.

The variety of life I’m exposed to is what I love most about my job. A question I was asked during the interview process for this position comes to mind.

Why do you want to be a Flight Attendant?” 

I knew I couldn’t say for the travel benefits, so I made something up. Or so I thought. My response was that a job as a Flight Attendant would provide me the opportunity to step outside of my own world and see life through the eyes of others. I told them that I thought it would make me less selfish and more selfless. Little did I know,  that’s exactly what would happen. I’m learning to let go of myself: my ideas of how life should be. Exposure to the countless ways of doing life has inspired me to give myself to God a little more each day. It has taught me that I won’t ever be in full control and that things will not go as planned. And I’ve learned to be okay with that.

I wonder how many disappointments Rose has endured during her 93 years of living. How many times has her heart been broken? How many times she felt like dying? I wonder if she was ever someone like me, looking into the eyes of someone like her. I wonder if Sara, the pilot, dreamed of flying planes when she was a little girl. Did she ever suspect that baby number two would be gently pressed against the steering wheel of a plane hidden and protected perfectly in her mommy’s tummy? I wonder if she planned to be pregnant at 35 years old, or if she saw herself pregnant at all.

So much of life involves the unexpected. People like Sara and Rose remind me that no matter how beautiful or tragic life may seem at times, it is possible. Moreover, that each of our journeys involves discovering just exactly what it is.

 

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Is this when?

 Is this when I write?

When I feel most uncertain? When my mind is plagued with what if’s?When for no reason, I want to curl into a ball and drown my thoughts in tears?

I’m choosing to write right now, not because I want to, but because I have to learn how to exist outside of my emotions. If I had my way, I’d be watching youtube videos to distract me from the choking fear of inadequacy. I’d be doing anything to suppress the seed of doubt threatening to take root in my mind.

Instead, I’m here. Feeling worthless, but here nonetheless. Before I began writing this, I went to my Bible. I’m doing a plan on the bible app that teaches ten habits of intimacy with God. I’m two days behind, so I read for September 29th. The lesson spoke about learning to live out every moment of life walking in God’s grace. I dismissed the reading thinking, “Yea, yea, grace. I don’t want a devotional, I want help.” Despite my impatience, I continued on to the scriptures that supported the reading. Nothing stood out until 2 Corinthians 12:9 was offered for review.

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Reading this verse was both affirming and hopeful. But more than that, it opened my eyes to my own frailty. I’m embarrassed at how easily I was led astray from my identity in God. I’m thankful I was granted the strength to seek a different strategy against this attack instead of wallowing in the devil’s lies about me.

Even now as I write, I’m beginning to feel the weight of this emotional attack being lifted. I understand now that it was a test to see if I could stand on God’s word and reassure myself against a psychological attack from the enemy. I didn’t think I could. I was prepared to retreat into my usual hiding place and wait for the assault to pass. But grace.

I turned to God and referenced who His word proclaims I am. My spirit smiles because I know that God has made me victorious in this battle. And along with it, He has blessed me with the vision to see a spark of something I rarely acknowledge in myself-

Growth.

 

 

 

You’re Beautiful

People react to being called beautiful.

My message today may seem a bit redundant, but because I’ve witnessed the positive change it encourages, I believe it to be worthy of endless reiteration.

A compliment.

It truly can make all the difference in someone’s life. We live in a world that interminably preaches the importance of self love: pick yourself up if no one else will. Be your own hero. Love yourself. That all sounds wonderful and empowering, only it’s not that simple. The same society promoting the indulgence of self love is the exact one telling us we need to change everything about ourselves in order to be accepted.

Love, it’s definition, and who it belongs to has become a convoluted misunderstanding.

As a big a mess as we’ve made, we can still turn it around. And remarkably, it starts by taking baby steps. Progress as small as paying someone a compliment.

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Despite what popular culture may try to make us believe, we do need one another. If we didn’t, we would’ve each been given our own world to live in, void of any other human contact. But we live in this world together and therefore are here to uplift, encourage, support, and love one another. That doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything, it just means developing the ability to love past our differences.

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Pull the Plug

Like a ferocious lion startling the dawn, the engines roared to life. For once, I wasn’t irritated by the fact that I was awake before the sun. Jackson Hole, Wyoming is breathtaking. Stunning beyond words. Who knew thirteen hours in this rustic town was all it took to fall in love. As we taxied toward the runway, I bid the Teton Mountains farewell on a prayer that we’d meet again.

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As I readied myself for takeoff, my longing to stay was interrupted by an announcement from the Captain: The plane had a mechanical failure and we had to return to the gate. He had no idea how long it would take a mechanic to arrive and assess the defect, but passenger complaints were few. Time moves differently in places like Jackson Hole. It feels slower, yet intentional. Every second is full, bursting like a woman ready to give birth. It delivers the calm to a world in constant haste.

Back at the gate, things moved more expeditiously than expected. The Captain returned promptly to the PA to inform us that they would be performing a reset on whatever system had malfunctioned:

“The plane will be turned off and everything will go dark for a moment, but don’t be alarmed.”

And so it did. The power was pulled and the plane lost all illumination. The stillness was almost uncomfortable. Voices previously muffled beneath the power of the engines were stripped of their privacy. Although conversation mostly ceased, the words that lingered were like the crisp Wyoming air: refreshing and clear. The fact that I could hear what people were saying at all made me realize how little we actually listen.

Chicago was our next destination. Then back to Newark. And as we flew from the protection of the mountains, I wondered what the world might sound like cut off from its power.

We’d be so lost.

Afraid.

Disconnected.

Blind.

Powerless.

But that’s where our redemption lies. It’s in the knowledge that our connection to things cannot save us. Our bond to one another is key. Learning to love and care for one another is to begin to understand the love of God. And if we can figure out how to live our lives through his love, we can be okay.

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Have you ever heard the claim that individuals who are born blind have a stronger sense of hearing than the average person? That’s because they have learned to become reliant on their other senses due to their lack of sight. It’s an advantage through a disadvantage.

For instance:

I could hear something and not know where it came from because I’d be utilizing all of my average working senses to make a determination. However, someone who is blind has honed their hearing so that they can almost pinpoint exactly where a sound comes from.

If we blinded ourselves from the media, news outlets, social media, and television, we would simply hear one another.

No computers. No Facebook. No phones. Just people. Millions of people speaking in the dark, hearing the echo of their own words. Meeting the eyes of strangers and finding that they have just as much hope and as little fear as themselves. Maybe more. Possibly less.

Without power, we would be able to hear. And if we can hear, we can listen. When we listen, we understand. When we understand, we empathize. When we empathize, we care. When we care, we love. And when we love, mountains become moveable.

XXVII

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A woman’s age is one of her best-kept secrets. It’s a powerful weapon with the ability to be either an ally or an enemy. Revealing this most sacred information can have irreversible effects. It can clothe a woman in wisdom and knowledge just as easily as it can strip her of beauty and youth. It may impress upon people the idea that she doesn’t know what she wants or take her beliefs and dreams for folly.

Stuffing a woman into a box of characteristics based on her age is an archaic adage as simple-minded and ridiculous as the notion currently impeding my celebratory spirit.

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I turned 27 yesterday, which means I’m a year closer to my dreaded 30th. I guess every birthday has put me a little closer to it, but now I can feel it. Like air coated thick with the call of springtime showers, I can smell it, and it’s too close.

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In three years time, 30 years of age will be asking me what I’ve done with my life for the past three decades.

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My fear is that I’ll have no answer. At least none that will live up to the pedestal I’ve placed this stupid number on. I’ve no idea where I developed this ridiculous notion that I have to have all my ish together by 30. I honestly don’t think that we as human beings ever get our crap together completely, but there’s no harm in trying.

Or is there?

I started preparing for 30 after I turned 25. And to an extent, it’s fine that I’m working toward stabilizing myself for the future, but when does it become too much? Because- and I don’t mean to be morbid- but the length of my future could be tomorrow. I’ve had an incredible life so far, not without its highs and lows of course, but a pretty decent life. Yet there’s a lot that I skip out on because I choose to work so that I can be debt free by 30. I’d be really pissed if something happened to me before then and I missed out on that trip to Venice or the experience of skydiving. They key is to balance my responsibilities while still allowing myself to enjoy life.

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My birthday advice to myself would be to take it easy. Enjoy what you have in the moments you have it because nothing is forever. Do for others. Keep smiling. Continue saving. Have patience. Trust God. Enjoy life. Be 27. 30 will come, and when it does, you’ll be ready. And that doesn’t necessarily mean everything will turn out as you imagine. It simply means that it will be okay nonetheless. 

Stay Focused!

I read this devotional a few days ago and I want to share it you guys!

Stay Focused!

With all that is going on in the world, I prayed in the Spirit and asked the Lord what was His response. This is what He told me to tell you, “Stay focused on advancing My Kingdom. Don’t adopt a secular view out of feelings of anger and frustration with current world events. Stay focused on doing what I have called and equipped you to do.”

(Read 2 Corinthians 2:11; Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 15:58)