LUGGAGE Lady

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

Archive for the month “August, 2012”

Relativity of a Bad Day

 

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Traffic jams, poor service, unexpected bills, rejection, an aloof neighbor, a bad hair day — whatever sends you sulking over to the woe is me corner. It’s all too easy to get caught up in our own drama, unraveling scrolls of examples to depict how the world is out to get us.

Then, something happens to detract your attention, morphing all those issues into utter trivia…

And so it was, I found myself in a crèche (orphanage for AIDS babies) in the Alexandra Township of Johannesburg, South Africa. The dwelling was no larger than two-hundred square feet. The floor lined with what looked like miniature blue yoga mats. These mats were not for fancy contortions, however, but rather beds where the children slept elbow-to-elbow. My heart pounded. I blinked. I swallowed.

We’d arrived early in the morning and the little ones were still sleeping, but when our guide introduced his “friends from America,” they rose, racing over to greet us. Throwing their arms around my knees — or wherever they could grab on — they hugged me as if I were someone special.

My day had begun with a malfunctioning alarm clock that sent my jet-lagged body scrambling, with no time for a shower, breakfast, or caffeine. Now, as I stood there with these precious little arms clinging to me, I felt uncontrollable emotion building. My so-called “problems of the day” — or any day for that matter — evaporated. I would never know true suffering. Gigantic eyes gazed curiously up at me, and I didn’t want them wondering why the silly American lady was sad. I promptly clamped teeth over my lower lip until I tasted blood and lowered myself to the floor so I could properly visit.

When the temptation arises to whine about life’s injustices, I try to recapture how I felt in that moment. Pity parties can attract a slew of fellow revelers and even be therapeutic on occasion, but in the end they are “parties” in comparison to the true hardships of the world.

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Travel’s Lingering Grasp

 

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Wisdom and appreciation accumulate, obliterating preconceived notions and expanding one’s senses with each new venture. A foreign land brings endless unknowns, quickly leveling the playing field. Ego is stripped away. You may be a successful (fill in the blank) in your homeland, but here? Here, you are just an explorer with curiosity as your compass and the incredible opportunity to delight in the spirit of the world’s populace.

Travel has bestowed timeless gifts, the magic of each journey leaving a permanent impression on my soul. I’ve experienced unparalleled hospitality, cultural pride, generous smiles from impoverished strangers (selflessly offering the one thing they could), unwavering determination, majestic landscapes, unique sounds smells and flavors. I’ve been catapulted thousands of years backward in time, touring churches, castles, palaces, museums, and ruins. History lures me beneath her vast wing again and again, a humbling reminder that we are mere transients whose stories unfold far too fast.

 

Another Chance

 

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Orange fiery bursts

Dance uninhibited across the western horizon

Rose and lavender clouds

Splay against the sky’s blank canvas

Another day history

Hopes heightened

Dreams cultivated

Friendships formed

Lives altered

As the light fades

An intangible promise prevails

Another sunset

Another chance

Where Does the Love Go?

 

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When I spot an elderly couple strolling down the street or sitting on a park bench, I wonder. Do they still feel the same fluttering in their hearts as when they first fell in love? In a disposable world, where so much is readily upgraded, can monogamous love endure?

You meet your soul mate — You feel wanted, needed, respected, appreciated, and adored. You come to life in this person’s presence, passion energizing every step. There is nothing the two of you cannot conquer together.

What happens that causes such a perfect relationship to shred without possibility of salvage? Do some require a vast library full of archived lovers to prove their mass appeal? Something to point back to and exclaim how loved they once were, all the while scrambling for their next conquest?

Love may mellow with everyday routine, but a lifetime of shared experiences and memories bond a couple in a way that those constantly on the prowl will never enjoy.

If you are fortunate enough to find your true companion, pour out your heart and soul even when you’re tired, bored, or frustrated. Silently take their hand and remember the weakness in your knees, the thundering of your heart, how you were nearly sick with pleasure when you first met.

Never forget and love will endure…

The Gift

 

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Every day the gift awaits

Extending a hand in comfort

Sharing a genuine smile

Turning stranger to friend

Compassion

The gift that costs nothing

Yet overlooked

Time and again

Continuing the spiral of ambivalence

Humanity passing

Without touching

Preoccupied and competitive

Forgetting we are one

Every day the gift awaits

The chance to contribute

To add a sparkle to the world

Replacing indifference with caring

Supporting others

Through kind actions

Brightening life’s journey

Choosing the gift

The Spectator

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The bustling street’s attention-garnering hum drifts upward

Tired eyes peer from an oft-shuttered window

Momentarily intrigued

Watching the world’s dreams unfold

A long-forgotten pursuit

Time blurring into weeks

Months

Then years

She’d lost track a lifetime ago

Oh there was a period

When temptation’s tantalizing hand reached out

Beckoning her to play

But expectations consumed

Caving to the status quo

Earned her the praise of family and friends

Where were these folks now??

A risk-free existence

Carried a cumulative price tag

Missed opportunities

Memories never made

Forfeited youth

And the reverberating regret of being a mere spectator

Alone and shocked by the breadth of her heart’s vacancy

Who’s Your Flight Attendant?

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Are they merely cocktail waiters/waitresses in the sky? Folks who took a gander upward one day and started humming “Leaving on a Jet Plane?”

As a seventeen-year veteran, I’m still amazed at the variety of professionals the industry attracts. I’ve flown with former doctors, nurses, lawyers, police officers, teachers, military personnel, and dot-comers — just to name a few.

The gentleman I worked with on my last trip served in law enforcement as a special investigator for forty years. When I asked if he was required to retire from the force at a certain age, he told me that his son had been killed in Iraq in 2007 causing him to reevaluate life in general. This was something he’d always wanted to do — a bucket list item of sorts. At 64, serving passengers and exploring the world is the retirement gift he chose to give himself.

So, next time you’re traveling by plane, spark up a conversation with the flight attendants. You may be surprised and inspired by the path that lead them there.

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