Flying on 9/11

Here is a story about flying on 9/11:

My husband of 41 years is running a 50-mile marathon in Colorado (you can read about his Run Rabbit Run 50 miler here). Ultra races are not a spectator sport. So I was not sure how much I would actually see him run.

Beyond this, I have a business that requires my presence.  But, I am his wife, I am immensely proud of his determination and effort, so here I am.  Flying on September 11th.

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The plane is full.  Completely.  And it is not a smaller plane.  Flying from Chicago O’Hare to Denver International requires lots of seats.

On the drive up, I listened to a noon radio show that was three women chatting about the day.  One woman remembered that after 9-11-2001, we all came together.  Looked at each other more.  Considered and acted more kindly to one another.  She wondered if we, in 2014, have gone back to our pre-9-11-01 attitudes.

We lived for two years “back east.”  The community had lost men and women that day.  A pilot who died had lived near a colleague.  The neighborhoods had commuters to NYC who had first hand experience with the nation’s tragedy.  It was a different remembering there than in the Midwest, where we remember, but from a distance.  Most of us not directly affected by losing a loved one that day.

I determined that I would be kinder today.  I try to be kind all the time, but today, I want to be intentionally kinder than usual.  Out of my way to remember to be unselfish.  Some of my attempts are already making my day (only half over) pleasant.

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
― Desmond Tutu

I flushed a toilet in a public bathroom.  Someone else’s unflushed toilet.  No biggie, but usually, I would pass and avoid.  I just thought about how SOMEONE was going to have to take care of it.  So, why not me?  Small action, unselfish, thinking of others.

I smiled and was cheerful with the grumpy, unsmiling cashier at the Wendy’s along the highway.  Instead of complaining to myself of unfriendly service workers, I prayed for her as I left.  Who knows what she had gone through to be so sad by 10:30 a.m. today?

I visited with the (very charming) woman who sat next to me in the airport.  SHE was pleasantness personified.  Asked about my trip.  Told me I must be really good as a Realtor.  Took interest in my trip.  Shared about her own life and joy of heading to her 40-year-old son’s wedding (his first, his fiancee’s first).  I was blessed by her.

And now, I am NOT talking to the man to my left.  He obviously doesn’t want to converse or be bothered.  And, the man on my right?  I told him I would nudge him if he snored or drooled while sleeping… kindness indeed.

Intentional kindness. 

I’ll keep it up.  Beyond today.  Intentionally looking for the unselfish action, the opportunity to bless and be blessed.

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