Thursday, February 13, 2014

Tears of a Stranger

I flew back to Atlanta from Dallas last week, and the girl across the aisle from me barely held back tears the entire way home.
It took everything in me not to lean over to her, give her a hug, and hold her hand the rest of our way home. I couldn't help but wonder why her heart was hurting so badly. Did the love of her life leave her in Dallas? Is she petrified of flying? Is she moving cross-country and terrified of what's coming next? Was she fired this morning and sent home instantly? Did her grandmother pass away? I found myself actually tearing up just thinking about the pain she must be going through, and then I smiled when the flight attendedant brought her a stack of tissues and a free refill on her wine. A woman after my own heart.
I've been there. I've cried my way through a 5 hour flight home for several of the reasons above. For the loss that I had just experienced and what I was leaving behind, for the huge life change I knew I'd be facing on arrival and for the new me that would walk off that plane. Life was about to take me for a crazy roller coaster ride, and I cried and cried and cried because I wasn't ready, but I had no choice. I was at the front of the line and there was no turning back.
Once we were on the ground in Atlanta, I caught up to her as we were walking towards the plane train, tapped her on the shoulder and said "I'm so sorry for what you are going through. Whatever it is, I hope you find the peace you deserve." The tears that had been welled up in her eyes for the 90 minute flight spilled over as she pulled me into a hug and I am not sure I have ever been squeezed so tightly.
I don't know if I will ever see that beautiful young woman again, but I will forever be changed by her silent tears, her gratitude to a stranger, and her fragile emotional state.

And I mean this in the most genuine way I can: Bless her sweet, sweet heart.

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