I have to admit my summer vacation was pretty good.
Not "good" in the obvious way - I mean "good" in the profound way.
Now, while I did enjoy the sun and sand and things that make it worthwhile, my "good" time happened in a rather unexpected way, in an unexpected place: the plane.
I guess I'm like most people who travel. I rush to get to the airport, get my luggage checked, and stand in that painfully long line to board before finally sitting in my seat.
This time around, I did the same thing I always do: I closed my eyes, eased my head back on the seat, and tried to relax.
As a passenger, I always silently pray, that my attending pilot is about to have an, uh……" good day at work."
But oddly enough on this trip, instead of worrying about all the things that could go wrong, my mind quickly shifted to all the things that have gone right.
As the plane ascended into the bright blue clouds, I visually began to see all the people and things in my life that I'm grateful for.And there are many.
It's amazing what the quiet of your mind will reveal to you if you let it. Yes, gratitude, of the purest kind, came at 38, 000 feet.
Like every human being unable to walk through this life unscathed, this year has presented me with my share of disappointments and unexpected things.
But boy, there's been a lot of good.
It made me wonder: How often do we stop to offer thanks for the things and people who make our lives special?
Sure, we do it on Sundays, and around the table at Thanksgiving, but shouldn't gratitude be more accessible than that?
So there I was in the dreaded aisle seat, prepared for a long boring plane ride, with nothing but my thoughts. My "solidarity in flight" came about because of an unusual thing. Due to a mix up by the airlines, the person traveling with me was unable to sit in the seat next to me, and wound up in the seat in front of me instead.
It was not the trip we'd intended.
Adding to my misery was all the things I lacked…. no magazines, no I-pod, no conversation. Dreadful.
But ten minutes after takeoff, awkwardly and hilariously, over those huge plane seats came a bright white tablet.
My travel partner had written me a note. It read:
"I am SO bummed right now that I'm not sitting next to you. :-( "
It made me smile and I wrote back.
I haven't passed notes since sixth grade.
So for the better part of the next few hours, to my delight and perhaps the chagrin of nearby passengers, we wrote notes - funny notes, poignant notes, sentimental notes, back and forth.
And then....mid-way through our exchange, it happened again.
One more lesson was revealed: If someone in your life cares enough to hand write you notes an entire plane ride?
That's one more thing to be grateful for.