Yesterday I was in travel hell, stranded at Chicago-O’Hare for ten hours as my flight was cancelled, then delayed…then delayed again…and again. A true introvert at heart, by hour five I was already hiding in the bathroom stall for long stretches of time, just to get some recharge time away from the frenetic energy of harried and frustrated travelers- many of whom had flights cancelled due to “traffic control issues.” All I know is there were a bunch of angry people everywhere, and it drained me like a punctured balloon. My sweet husband insisted that I make the best of it and get a massage, so I did. By hour seven, I needed another massage.
When the flight attendant finally made the announcement that we were going to board, a cheer went up around the room. I could tell that the flight crew wanted out of O’Hare every bit as much as we did. I wanted to kiss the plane when I got to my seat. That is, until the fidgety woman who hummed constantly set in the seat next to me. Again, I sent up a prayer of gratitude for my Bose noise-cancelling headphones and the good book on my iPad. Sanity comes in many forms.
After leaving my home at 7:30, about sixteen hours later I de-planed in Lincoln and saw the beautiful smiling face of my best friend, Diane. I started to burst into tears of gratitude and exhaustion, but them we started laughing (as we usually do) and I went with that. Much better.
In the light of day, everything was better. In fact, everything was wonderful. No more airport craziness, instead, laughter and hilarity with my best friend. Diane has embraced a wonderfully healthy way of eating, and we enjoying chatting and laughing as she made some amazing meals for us:
We had a full and productive day including rehearsing for our performance at ClarinetFest next week and visiting with Diane’s sweet mother.
It seems that – while I do my best to be a positive and upbeat person, sometimes I can’t see the forest for the trees when I’m wading through stressful experiences, such as what happened at the airport. My best friend is so good about helping me to find perspective with a simple but powerful phrase: it’s not cancer. Last summer, we were supposed to perform together in Madrid, but the universe had other plans for Diane. She spent the summer battling breast cancer, inspiring and uplifting so many by openly and honestly sharing her experience. That is big stuff. A silly delay at an airport? Not so much.
And so, here’s to the people in our lives who help us to see what is really important, who lift us up with laughter and encouragement, and who inspire us to do and be better. Diane’s one of those people for me. Another day has come, and I plan to appreciate every moment, no matter what comes my way…and I’m pretty sure there will be lots of laughter and goofiness involved. I’ll be extra grateful for that.