LUGGAGE Lady

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

Archive for the category “Life”

Somehow… I’m Enough

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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 ♥

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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! 😘

Perspective is — Everything

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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

 

 

 

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! 💞

Redefining Happy

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The greatest privilege of being a flight attendant is crossing paths with passengers who completely transform your day life…

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Born three months early and diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Jon’s future appeared hopeless. The doctors told his parents that his brain’s frontal lobe deformation was such that he’d likely never be more than a vegetable.

They were wrong.

Jon rolled down the jetway in a motorized wheelchair, which allowed him to stand upright, looking like Robert Downey Jr. in the Iron Man movie. His megawatt smile and larger-than-life personality swiftly amplified my superhero impression. When I asked where he was headed, he proudly informed me that he’d been selected as one of only seventy college students nationwide to participate in a five-day leadership conference. He’d be giving several motivational speeches.

“I love talking. Put a tree in front of me, and I’ll talk to it.” He laughed. “My plan, once I get my master’s, is to be a motivational speaker. I’ve already produced a few short films, and I’m writing a book.”

“What’s it about?” I asked, thinking I had a fairly good idea.

“It’s about how the definition of happy is completely inaccurate,” he said, upending my presumption. “Happiness isn’t a single emotion. It’s the ability to appreciate all emotional states, learning and growing from both positive and negative experiences. People buy all these self-help books on how to be happy when they really just need to constructively connect with the world around them. Happiness isn’t an adjective — it’s a verb.”

“Impressive wisdom coming from a college kid.” I winked.

“Well, I wasn’t always so smart.” He fidgeted with his cell phone. “In high school I got a little depressed, focusing on all the stuff I couldn’t do. Fortunately, my mom is a very smart lady. She let me wallow in self-pity exactly three days before dragging me out to visit a kid born with my same condition. There I was, staring into the eyes of a boy roughly my age, except he can’t move, can’t speak, can’t feed himself — nothing. He wasn’t as lucky as me!”

I nodded, fingernails sinking into my palms to keep the tears at bay.

“Anyway, like I was saying,” he continued, “happiness boils down to how you choose to interact with the world. A perfect example occurred just this morning coming through security. When the TSA spoke to my travel assistant, their tone was totally normal. But when they turned to me, their voices slowed and shot up several decibels, as if they were speaking to a kindergartener. Was I going to let that ruin my day? No way, Jose! I started joking around with them until they were clutching their bellies. By the time they finished scanning all my metal parts, I’m pretty sure they saw me as someone not all that different from themselves.”

He shrugged. “And that’s my secret to happiness. When others treat me with indifference or disrespect, I surprise them with a story, a joke — whatever I think is going to dispel the negative cloud the quickest. Most people are so accustomed to confrontation, they don’t even know how to process this. Then, something shifts, and their entire disposition changes. That’s super cool to watch.” His smile illuminated the cabin.

“You’d make a great flight attendant.”

His eyes lit up. “I’d even sing!”

Might We Dance Again?

IMG_7582  Pouring heart and soul upon the page

Unmasked for all to judge

At times, feeling inconsequential

Misunderstood

But you opened your arms

With unimaginable support

Erasing those fears

Swaying and twirling

Generously sharing your own inspiring insight

Our introspective dance drawing us close

Pouring heart and soul upon the page

In pursuit of meaningful existence

Hand-in-hand

Might we dance again?

♥♥💃♥♥ 

Oh, how I’ve missed my WordPress World!!!! Thank YOU ALL — from the depths of my wandering soul — for not abandoning Luggage Lady during my lengthy hiatus! I very much look forward to reading your beautifully uplifting, thought-provoking blogs once again. And for my cherished readers, it is my sincerest hope to publish something of value here at least once a month. 😘

 

Elevating Tomorrow by Eclipsing Yesterday

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The only person you need to be better than is the one you were yesterday.”

🌟

Gracefully intent

You tango

Enviable posture

Unflinching

On life’s populous dance floor

Melody and motion seamlessly unite

Snappy maneuvers building momentum

Heightening experience

Crescendo nearing

Until…

Scheming arms stealthily encircle

Partnering you with self-defeat

Incessant comparisons truncating potential

A plethora of privileged souls sashay along the promenade

Born inanely gifted

Bearing silver-spooned advantage

Society’s favorites

Slated for success

Gobbling all the prizes

Why bother?

Apathetic legs lock

Rhythm

Lost

🌟

But the stars wait…

Yearning for the brush of your fingertips

As you reach skyward

Remembering

To foster your own dreams

Rather than covet another’s

Chance after gutsy chance

Digging deep

Summoning your song

Mastering its unique beat

Toppling your best

And still

Ascending…

🌟

Elevating Tomorrow by Eclipsing Yesterday

How Lucky Am I to Call You Dad?!

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To Male Role Models Everywhere: What YOU Do Makes a Lifelong Difference

***

Exemplifying strength, security, and wisdom

Your jovial ambition buoyed all who gazed into those steel-blue eyes

A man with boundless know-how

You were educator, innovator, mentor, entrepreneur, comedian, athlete, handyman, storyteller — and moral beacon

I believed in you

And you instilled tenacious courage in me

Exhibiting integrity in every facet of your life

You demonstrated the importance of preparation, sacrifice, faith, and hard work

Cushioned by your tireless guidance

I stumbled

I blossomed

I made choices that surely left you wincing

Still, my gallant cornerstone remained in the wings

At-the-ready

Yet intervening only if solicited

A consistent male presence enhances the well-being of every child

But paternal dependability fortifies a little girl’s heart beyond measure

Shielding her from pathetic sorts who prey upon the vulnerable

A flourishing confidence that protects her long after she grows up and moves away…

♥♡♥

Thank YOU for

Bestowing a love I never doubted

Safeguarding my reputation by imparting self-worth

Anchoring our family in your committed embrace

Being the first to volunteer and the last to quit — bettering every community you touch

My heart swelling with pride at the mere mention of your name

For loving my mommy over fifty years and counting

Towering valiantly as the grandest role model I’ve ever known

How lucky Am I to Call You Dad?!

Mind Over Mountain

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The mountain looms. Ignoring the “I can’ts” lobbing across my mind. Altitude accentuating the agony. Hammering heartbeat. Inferior lungs. Exhaling in a humiliating whoosh. The peak well above my comfort zone. Weighted legs. Stalling. A gulp of metallic water from my canteen. Sun and wind chaffing. A flicker of reverence launching untapped stamina — I’m traversing a portion of the intricate 25,000-mile Inca road system!

Santos, our Inca Shaman darts by. He’s hiking in sandals (!), playing a wooden flute-like instrument. I wonder what he thinks of this out-of-shape gringo gasping for air? He pauses in the distance. Incapable of speaking his native tongue, I ask for a picture in Spanish. He smiles, waving me over.

Later, he leads our group of twelve in a ceremony at the edge of a luminous glacier lake. He distributes symbolic coca leaves and we cling to their divinity as he begins chanting in hushed Quechua. Our Peruvian guide translates:

Release your negativity. Leave it here in the wide embrace of the Andes. Be free of debilitating thoughts. Let them go. They drag you under. Forgive yourself. Forgive others. Disappointment, grudges, and bitterness destroy. Know in this moment, you have all you need: the sustaining sun, soothing air, purifying water, guiding stars, protective mountains, and exalting skies. The moon’s pull to keep you centered, the soil to nourish. Mother Earth always provides, ready with healing hand. Use this restorative energy. Envision family, friends, those suffering you’ve never met. Lift them up with your compassion. We have nothing more valuable to give the world — or each other.

We clutch hands, stitching our circle tighter. Snow loses its grip on a nearby cliff, triggering a small avalanche amidst our tranquility. A Condor swoops gracefully. Both men intensely engaged in their sacred ritual. Who am I to be standing in such a surreal natural sanctuary? I close moist eyes and picture the Southern Cross dancing in last night’s sky, wondering how I’ll ever translate such marvel to another. I tuck the memory into a deep pocket of my brain, hoping I’ll find a way.

Back home, I study our photographs, trying to recapture the rush of accomplishment, to harness the spirited Inca drive. I mean — who possesses such moxy as to erect cities and trails upon alarmingly precarious territory? I observe people all around me facing everyday mountains, trouncing obstacles with unparalleled grit, and I ask:

What’s the magic ingredient that propels an individual to exceed mediocrity — striving for excellence in every pursuit?
 



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