The Little Old Lady Who Sat Next to Me

She looked like a nice little old lady. I squeezed into the seat between her and a young girl reading a Japanese bible and looked back to make sure Bryan and Charlie had boarded from the rear. After our mini LA family vacation I was looking forward to a quiet flight, a glass of wine and finishing The Chronicles of Narnia that Charlie had disdained to read.

But the lord once again had different plans for my flight. Another divine appointment. As divine appointments go, there was absolutely no way I could see this one coming. I mean I had a book and a glass of wine. Japanese girl. Me. Little old lady.

My slight glance upward and over caught an astonishing sight. Like the magic in Narnia I beheld the older woman erasing years from her face on the screen of her phone. I could not stop myself.. and asked, “Excuse me, how do you do that?” She turned to me so close I could see each and every wrinkle, furrow and crease, and said, “I’ll show you.”

Our appointment thus began.

I really did not want a lesson on how to erase all the wrinkles and add makeup to my face, I simply wanted the name of the app, but once a little old lady starts to demonstrate the features of an app that she does not know the name of there is no turning back.

And as fascinating as that all was, we moved on. You may wonder how our conversation shifted from the superficiality of an appearance enhancing app to sharing our poetry and our passions. How I learned that her husband had died when her daughter was ten and she went back to school and had a masters in physics. How she danced ballet and put her daughter through med school and illustrated her own poetry with her own watercolors. I don’t really remember the dialogue but I knew it didn’t matter. I was meant to hear her story because frankly that very day, my story had hit a dead end.

Just before boarding the plane home I had walked with my daughter through a beautiful neighborhood of Pasadena mansions. Every home looked like a movie set. As I walked arm and arm with my suddenly mature daughter, I tried explaining to her that nothing mattered more to ones sense of happiness than a sense of purpose. Not a big house, a fancy car or thinner thighs. Those things aren’t achievements that your soul craves. And my soul was longing for something I could not even see. Yes, I confided in my fourteen year old daughter.

When I boarded the plane I knew something had to change. Sure, I wish I could take ten years off my face but what I really want has nothing to do with how I look. I want to write and connect with people. I want to not be afraid that people won’t get it. You see, as someone who moved every two or three years their entire life I am not afraid of people not liking me. I am afraid they won’t like what I write.

Fast forward~ Here’s a little old lady (who wasn’t that terribly old) who had the balls to self-publish and paint and dance and dream. Her art and poetry were unparalleled. And she was fearless and unapologetic.

The hour flight ended and yet a lifetime of wisdom had traveled from her crinkly blue eyes and pierced mine. I said, “You know, the last woman I sat next to on a flight had stage 4 lung cancer like my mom’s and she told me these meetings are divine appointments.” The poet looked at me and said “Divine appointments. I like that.” And it was at that moment that she realized I might be hers.

When your divine appointment arrives, logic and convention depart.