When strangers lend a handJanuary 29, 2007 at 3:11 pm | Posted in country living, dating, faith, family, free knitting patterns, knitting, love, marriage, photography, relationships, romance | 19 Comments
Today is not a particularly special, momentus day for most of the world. We do have a beautiful, fresh layer of snow from a few hours of snowfall last evening. The cedar trees I see out my window have puff balls of snow covering them; little birds will come by and knock them all down as the day goes by in what will look like private little snowball fights with the snow covered ground below.
But for me, today is a particularly fine and special day.
The snow, the birds engaged in snowball fights, the woosh of cars driving past every now on then on snow covered roads … the beauty and grace of the place in which I live, is icing on my cake of life.
A year ago today my now-husband first contacted me via email and three short months later I found myself sitting on the back door stoop here on the farm in New York watching him drive around the barn on his tractor, mowing the lawn.
Ten days earlier I had been living in the foothills above hot, crowded, cranky Los Angeles. I had lived there for thirty-six years. As I sat on the stoop, I was feeling quite dazed as I saw him take another turn around the barn.
The barn. I had a barn. And a husband. And he was on a tractor, mowing our huge lawn on our fifty acre farm. I had a farm. I was on our farm, in New York and I had a husband and he was driving a tractor. And we lived on a river. The world was suddenly green and vibrant and cool and lush. I was married … and dazed.
It had been early March, just five weeks after we first made contact via email, when we knew for certain we were going to be married. We had not met face-to-face, but we knew and there were no misgivings, only amazement. I knew for certain I had been tapped on the shoulder by God and the only prudent thing to do was to go with the flow. He felt it too.
So, in early March he bought airline tickets for me to fly to New York to meet him and the farm and the community and for us to verify what instinct and faith was guiding us to do. I would be flying there to meet him on March 30th, only three weeks forward. So much to do, so much excitement and enchantment.
The day of my flight it was pouring rain in Los Angeles. As I made my way down a long flight of stairs with my heavily packed suitcase, I struggled with an umbrella hoping to keep some part of myself dry. My jeans were a little too long, and though I walked a bit on tiptoes, they inevitably got wet and became heavy and cold. They were low-rise jeans, and a little too large for me because I had been walking four miles a few times each week since the beginning of the year, and I had gone down a size. The weight of the water pulled on the bottom of the legs of my jeans and every few steps I had to stop and hitch them back up as I made my way through the parking area between the garages of the townhouse complex where I was temporarily renting a room. If anyone was watching, it was most likely a humorous sight.
Finally I made it to my car, but only after walking through some serious mud between the sidewalk and the curb. I was already running a bit late, and the heavy rain gave me cause to worry about traffic conditions on the way to the airport. What if I missed my flight. For a moment I thought of praying for the rain to let up but then I thought to myself, “Okay, so God has seen fit to lend a hand in my meeting the man I am going to marry after many years of being alone. And, what am I going to do, ask for the rain to let up on top of that.” No, I thought I would just stick with being incredibly grateful for the real miracle I was in the middle of and not mention anything about the rain.
Traffic was definitely heavy, but I decided to make up for the time by using the valet parking at Burbank airport, so I could just dash across to the terminal and hopefully get through security in time. Valet parking would be awfully expensive for five days of absence, but I was on my way to meeting him and nothing else seemed to matter very much.
Of course, that day there would be a snarl up at security … only one machine was working and the line went back, and back, and back, and back until it reached all the way to another terminal. Yikes.
I just kept reminding myself that I was going to meet him, and it would all be okay. Not to worry or fret, just get through the line and be grateful air travel is possible … no matter the hassels involved. I mean, really … don’t we all quibble about “inconveniences” when truly our lives are gloriously blessed with every ease and comfort imaginable (well, almost anyway). By means of the Internet and cell phones, long distance calling plans, airline travel and airports, valet parking and rolling suitcases, just to mention a few conveniences, I had an opportunity to find and meet my soul-mate though he lived more than 3,000 miles away. Did I really have anything in the world to complain about?
Uh … no.
My flight plan would take me through Denver and Pittsburg, before catching a third flight into New York. I did make my first flight out of Burbank. There was a wonderful young man from Libya (or somewhere) sitting next to me. He was flying to Chicago to perform (he was a musician). He didn’t speak much English at all, but he and I found ways to communicate with each other. As it turned out, he was deathly afraid of flying. Unfortunately, the flight was very rough; the entire country seemed to be having bad weather that day. The shaking of the plane caused him to clench his fists and look quite terrified.
I distracted him by engaging him in more of our “conversation” and I also did what I could to communicate to him that the shaking of the plane was quite normal and not to be feared. It felt good to be able to help calm another person, especially someone who was suffering so. He showed me a photograph of his girlfriend, gave me one of his business cards, and someone or other I got it across to him that I was on my way to meet my fiance. Of course, he wasn’t technically my fiance yet, but he would be.
The flight from Denver to Pittsburg got off the ground late, and the flight schedule lengthened while we were in mid-air because of a huge storm hovering over the midwest. The plane had to fly north to avoid the storm, and was also slowed down by fighting against head winds much of the flight. The window of opportunity for me to make my connecting flight in Pittsburg was diminishing rapidly.
On that flight there was a very nice older couple returning home from vacation. I was feeling so terribly excited about meeting him, and I told the couple I was on my way to meet my fiance. I told them a little bit about our romance, and they were very excited for me too. I also told them I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to make my connecting flight … the flight attendant had made an annoucement about that particular flight and that if it was missed there would be another one three hours later. Yikes, and double yikes. Stay calm, my beating heart.
When the plane finally landed I had about three minutes to get to the other gate. The older couple had a plan to try to help me make it; the woman said her husband was going to get up quickly when the plane touched down and block everyone behind us so that I could jump out and get off the plane as quickly as possible. That was pretty cool.
So, the plane touched down and he did his maneuver and out into the aisle I went. When I came off the ramp into the airport, there was a guy in a cart waiting for me specifically … I have no idea how that came to be, but he whisked me off and zoomed me through the airport trying to get me to the other gate. He walkie-talkied to the people at that gate to let them know he had me and was speeding me in their direction. They said they had already boarded, but that I might be able to make it. He was driving that cart so fast my hair was actually blowing out behind me. It was very exciting.
When we go to my gate I grabbed my bag and ran, not even paying attention to any details ahead other than … run – for – that – gate. When I got there I noticed there was one tall lean man … a passenger … standing at the desk, and no one else was around. The door was closed, and I could see the little commuter plane out on the runway, looking very much like it was about to head off down the runway.
I was stunned and disappointed, but I calmed myself down and gently visuallized myself on the little plane, arriving in New York on time.
Several agonizing minutes later, and flight attendant came in and looked at the man who was standing there waiting to get on the flight, then she looked at me. She sized us up, and said she would take me. Turns out, they were close to their weight limit and I was much smaller than him so I got my seat and off I went.
That flight was noisy and bumpy, but I sat beside of a young man and I was so bursting with excitement I told him I was on my way to meet my fiance, who I had never met face-t0-face before. As it turned out, that guy had met his fiance online and things were working out very well for them. We had a very nice engaging conversation and before I knew it the flight had landed in New York.
My stomach was fluttering as I made my way off the plane and headed through the little terminal. I stopped in a restroom to freshen up, but my hands were shaking so much I couldn’t do much. It had been a long day of travel that started out with me getting very wet and damp in the rain in Los Angeles. Oh well, it was time to go out there and meet him no matter how my hair or makeup looked. He was right out there somewhere and that was all that mattered.
I have to end off here today. Thank you for reading my tale. It was a good day, a fine day … and it all stared one year ago this day. January 29th. A day I will always treasure.
I will also always treasure the memory of that day of travel to meet him for the first time. There was such a spirit of help, fellowship, and mutual cooperation on the various flights. I even told a male flight attendant on the fllight from Denver to Pittsburg that I was on my way to meet my fiance. He became very interested and wrote several places of interest in the upstate New York area on a napkin, suggesting I ask my fiance to take me to those places. That napkin is posted on our cork bulletin board by the front door to this day.
I treasure that wonderful sense of strangers, whose lives touched only momentarily by chance for the breifest breath of time. We were interested in each other, sharing joy and concerns and helping one another where help was needed. That too was a good and fne day.
Now you, have a wonderful day,