LUGGAGE Lady

Contemplations about Life, Love, & the Pursuit of Meaningful Existence…

Somehow… I’m Enough

Wedding fif

Celebrating our fifteenth wedding anniversary recently, someone asked, “Did you guys ever think you’d make it this far?”

As a flight attendant/pilot couple, we’re well aware our odds of marital success are lower than the dismal average. So we take pride rather than offense when such questions arise. But my lungs deflated when my husband replied, “Personally, I can’t believe she didn’t bail the second I started flapping my jaws about my past.”

I forced a smile. But for someone from a cohesive family, including parents who will celebrate their 52nd anniversary next month, enduring a childhood rooted in abandonment and abuse is anguish I will forever struggle to comprehend.

* * *

Mothers are supposed to hurl themselves in front of speeding trains if it means saving their children — right??? But what if you’re a mistake, whisked from your birth mother to an adoptive mother who subsequently opts for “children of her own,” leaving you in the hands of a broken man when you’re just seven? And what if this sole parent turns to the bottle to satiate his anger and to you with raging fists when liquor fails?

My husband needn’t ponder — this was his childhood. And the hardship didn’t end there.

As is frequently the case, the booze triumphed and rendered him an orphan at twenty-three. He pursued his flying dream relentlessly, but the major airlines required a medical history he lacked. In searching for this, he discovered a clerical error: His birth name had been left visible in the adoption records — a unique one, courtesy of his Czechoslovakian mother.

He was twenty-six when he found her. Living with a man in his early thirties, she was terrified that the sudden appearance of her secret son might result in yet another failed romance. After meeting him, she interacted sporadically before vanishing again. As a parting gift, however, she shared his father’s identity —  and the uncanny addendum: He was also an airline pilot!

Optimism skyrocketing, he couldn’t wait to meet his genetic blueprint. Unfortunately, their relationship was doomed from the git-go. Dad was married to a younger woman who couldn’t stomach my husband’s existence — forget subjecting her pre-teen children to such a scandal.

* * *

I’m ashamed to admit, the first time he told me his (less cheeky) version of the story, I quickly located my nearest exit. Don’t get me wrong, I was smitten from the start. He was (and is) my bona fide flyboy in shining armor — and yet?? Even now, in those unguarded moments when I spy a darkness in his eyes I can’t seem to brighten, inadequacy looms:

What if I make a mess of the love he’s gone a lifetime without

Letting him down like countless others?

What if I inadvertently poke holes in an already battered soul

Because my heart is too small?

What if I’m not worthy of the gem that he is?

💞

Then he pulls me into his resilient embrace

Eclipsing words

Halting time

Heartbeats melding

Thumping a tune of

Perpetual devotion

And I know

Somehow… 

I’m enough

* * *

♥ I dedicate this to every person struggling with family or abandonment issuesparticularly during the Holiday Season. I know how hard it is to open your hearts and let another in, but please know that what you’ve endured doesn’t define you. You prove this time and again with your steadfast attitudes and successes. YOU are precious gifts, inspiring others to overcome obstacles while finding the courage to forgive and trust again. And I, for one, am oh-so-grateful for your presence on this earth! xoxo ♥

Compassionately Converging

SoulfulConvergence

“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” – Maya Angelou

♥ ♥ ♥

In my dreams

Humanity doesn’t just bustle by one another

We initiate inspiriting impressions

Sans preoccupation or fear of repudiation

Greeting one another joyfully

Sharing a smile

A funny tale

Or maybe even swapping life stories

Commonalities dissolving differences

Respectful minds OPEN

Listening

Broadening

Approachable hearts expanding

Celebrating varying viewpoints and insightful interpretations

No matter how contrasting

Laughter and tears uniting

Difficult situations drawing us closer

Providing opportunity to stand in each other’s shoes

Appreciating the pain

While boldly rebuffing the destructive “us versus them” mentality

Bridging every gap in our power

Mindful we’re in this together

Spreading kindness rather than antagonism

Compassionately converging

♥ ♥ ♥

(Photo from my latest travels: Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Northern Ireland)

 

 

 

Ever Grateful for YOU

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May the faintest illumination allay all traces of gloom
A whispered word evoke cheer in your heart even amidst chaos
May providence veer you fluidly from harm
A song renew your spirit
May your blessings be bountiful enough to share
And giving elevate your essence
May love lavish endless color across your days
While the gift of family and friendship provide safe harbor
May you know inner peace and hone this asset
Forever seeking
Passage to soulfulness…

♥ ♥ ♥

Your support means the world to me, precious readers. Sending you ALL my deepest gratitude & love — on this special day — and always! 😘

Sky-high Dreams

FlightAttBlog

I wanted to be a flight attendant for as long as I can remember but postponed my dream until I was almost thirty. Nearly twenty years later, I still pinch myself from time to time. Sadly, the airline stories featured in the news tend to be negative ones, yet my experience has been overwhelmingly positive. I’m thankful for the intriguing lives I get to mingle with and learn from, for the laughter and the occasional tear —  but mostly for the jubilant reminder that human kindness always prevails! ♥

✈ 🌎 ✈

Seven peaceful miles aloft

Zipping across azure skies

My aluminum-tubed office

Affording a collage of continuous change

Crewmates bonding as seamlessly as the airplane generates lift

Teetering on sparsely padded jump seats

Swapping life stories

Recent adventures and travel tips

Unfathomable challenges and lessons garnered

Heartache and love discovered anew

Inspiring

Teaching

Eliciting fresh philosophies

A myriad of personalities merging at 37,000 feet

Not just a career

But a dynamic lifestyle

Making my gypsy soul soar

Cherished wings pridefully pinned

Symbolizing fortuitous passage

To a boundless world and her remarkable inhabitants

Thump against an ever grateful heart

Colleagues and passengers

Uniting in harmonious synergy

Each magical encounter validating my earliest aspirations

Boosting me upward again and again

Blessed to be living those

Sky-high Dreams

✈ 🌎 ✈

(♥ Photo courtesy of a dear colleague’s friend. Check out her site, featuring the precious model above: http://karlaquiz.com ♥)

🌎 See also: Love Letters to Malaysia Airlines

A Butterfly’s Rousing Journey

ButterflyBlog

Butterflies know precisely when to leave the safety of their cocoons, gloriously unfurling an exquisite new form and fearlessly trusting those untested appendages. When I sprouted my post-college “wings” and headed starry-eyed to the City of Angels, I did so with slightly less gallantry. My mode of transport was an Olds Cutlass Sierra, and my trailblazer spunk came with a convenient disclaimer: If things didn’t pan out, I could skitter back to my midwestern “cocoon” — no questions asked. How different that departure might have felt had I known there was no return option? And what if my destination required me to abandon my comfort zone completely, trekking to a destination foreign in every way, with little more than the clothes on my back and a hope-laden heart?

How much would you sacrifice to seek freedom and opportunity?

For Shermin Nahid Kruse‘s parents, who emigrated from Iran to Canada in the late 80s, the answer was — everything. Today, their accomplished daughter attributes her success to a baba and maman who gave up livelihood, family, and country so she and her sisters could pursue dreams unencumbered by their homeland’s oppressive regime.

From the tender age of eleven, Shermin embraced her new environment with grit, grace, and adaptability. Now, in addition to a resume that leaves me wishing I could package and sell such ambition, she’s written a compelling book that interlaces mother and daughter perspectives of Iran before, during, and after the Islamic Revolution.

Her novel, Butterfly Stitching, makes one feel like a privileged friend, granted special access down a hidden corridor to a colorfully complex and otherwise inconceivable world. She skillfully drops her readers into tenacious Persian women’s shoes, swaying at once to the tight-knit cultural beat with our senses delightfully piqued. We shop at bustling markets, prepare and savor ethnic meals, host secret parties, dance to illegal music, recite forbidden poetry, paint heartrending emotion, suffer a passionless arranged marriage, find and lose true love — all while somehow maintaining positivity against a backdrop rife with fear, repression, betrayal, and bloodshed.

If you’re like me and routinely invent excuses for postponing goals, her rousing journey will replenish your soul’s gusto, transforming yesterday’s paper-thin excuses into possibilities. Thanks to this inspiring author and dear friend, I shall never utter the words “I can’t” again!

♥♥♥

What leap of faith have you taken to achieve your dreams? Tell me about it and possibly win a signed copy of Butterfly Stitching!

♥ LL

(Photo from our latest travels: The Dark Hedges in Ballymoney, Northern Ireland)

Perspective is — Everything

Perspective

Docking in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, I peered out at the torrential downpour. Gusty wind blew rain in every direction. A lone guitarist huddled in a wooden crate, crooning “Sloop John B”  to welcome us. The zip-line operator canceled our tour, and all I wanted to do was crawl back into bed with a hot toddy and the book I’d brought.

My husband wouldn’t hear of it, having already revised our plans to hike along the river. And so, I retrieved every piece of waterproof gear I’d thought to pack and trudged toward the ship’s gangplank. As we neared, commotion ensued. We watched an elderly gentleman being hoisted onto a stretcher and whisked away via ambulance.

I ventured into Mother Nature’s wrath, swirling air immediately snapping my umbrella inside-out. I slipped on waterlogged tree roots, my new shoes squished, and I worried that the camera in our drenched backpack was being destroyed. But, oh how vibrant the autumn foliage adorning the forest trail appeared dripping wet, and how serendipitous that a cluster of trees should materialize just as the heavens unleashed buckets, and how satisfying to hear an abundant river gush…

Five miles later, my umbrella had been reduced to metal carnage, mud clung to my backside, and water dripped from my eyelashes — but I couldn’t stop smiling. Accustomed to my prissiness, my husband thanked me for maintaining such a chipper attitude. I just shook my head and said, “I bet that gentleman would give a million bucks to be hiking in the rain right now.”

Sweet Wanderlust

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The world enraptures

With spellbinding possibility

Spontaneous adventure ever-beckoning

Enchanting souls await your acquaintance

Charming with their

Inspiring architecture

Mesmerizing art

And impromptu street music

Rousing senses

Revitalizing spirits

An open invitation:

Come this way, dear friend

Devour uncharted terrain, cultures, and cuisine

With boundless intrigue

Savoring how each new experience

Kindles personal reinvention

Whether distant or near

May sweet wanderlust spark

Every footfall of your journey…

 

🌎 🌎 🌎

As I pack for a whirlwind tour of Ireland, Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland, Québec City, & Montreal, I leave you with Khalil Gibran’s lovely words:

“For the breath of life is in the sunlight and the hand of life is in the wind…Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.” ♥ LL

 

 

 

Timeless Souls Plucked from the Spring of Our Days

Classof1984

💞 💞 💞

A high school friend recently asked me to write something for our upcoming reunion. I struggled for weeks. Then, I thought about the plans being made to honor those classmates who’d left our world far too soon. Several of these losses occurred while we were still teenagers. The impact on our young minds was profound.

As I began writing, however, I realized this wasn’t just for the Class of ’84. This was for every courageous spirit who has endured unimaginable tragedy and found the strength to move forward, anchoring families, friendships, and communities with awe-inspiring perseverance.

I dedicate this to you with Love and Admiration.

♥, LL

(Photo from our journey to De Hoop Nature Reserve in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, 2009)

Interacting Impeccably

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With every word spoken

Opportunity unfolds

A magical mechanism

Weaving the story of our days

Intent

Feelings

Dreams

Who we truly are

An unparalleled energy force

Powerful seeds planted in fertile minds

Yet, a profound choice exists:

Engage the world with integrity

or

Dampen the spirits of each soul we encounter

♥ ♥ ♥

Imagine the exhilarating, cumulative impact

If we chose to:

Vanquish negativity

Shun gossip

Eliminate needless emotional poison

Harnessing this uniquely human gift

By honoring our word

Sharing only truth and love

Leaving hearts full

And smiles wide

Infusing glee

Interacting Impeccably…

 

♥ ♥ ♥

Inspired by Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements — an absolutely brilliant read I cannot recommend highly enough! 💞

Love Letters to Malaysia Airlines

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I wrote these words some time ago (http://luggagelady.net/2012/12/16/we-are-one/) but reposted the piece on my facebook page after last week’s heartbreaking airline tragedy. What happened from there was magical. A dear high school friend contacted me, asking to embed my poem onto her exquisite jewelry website. I replied with a resounding “YES!” and promptly added her lovely creation to a flight attendant networking site:  https://www.facebook.com/aflyguyslounge under “Love Letters to Malaysia Airlines.” (Please take a peek if you’re able as I believe the gracious sentiments from airlines worldwide will put a smile in your heart.)

Whether united by wings, artistic endeavors, or sheer compassion — we traverse this globe together — hearts overlapping… 💞

 

 

 

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