I went to Amsterdam last week to attend a couple of events and conferences. My trip was inspiring, educational and also pretty tough. It was the first time I really let myself feel grief for all the changes in my life over the past year.
Grief for walking away and stripping myself of everything I ever identified with (job, career, money, success), grief for the uncertainty and vulnerability to start over and to realign with what’s inside me, grief for ending life long friendships, grief for tearing my ACL and still not feeling like myself 10 months later, grief for doing it all without a partner.
I was fragile on my way home and could not wait to crawl into my own bed. I checked my bag (which I never do) in Amsterdam. As I waited at the baggage carousel in Chicago, I saw my bag coming out, opened. I panicked and tried desperately to close it, but both locks had broken. I only had an hour layover. As I left customs, I ran over to the United counter to ask for help.
This is the reason I’m writing. I was met by a woman, so warm and willing to help me. She didn’t have wrap but immediately got down on her hands and knees and started taping the hell out of my bag. It took 5 minutes. She threw me a big plastic bag as a “just in case” plan and the remaining roll of tape, hugged me and said “good luck”.
I was so in my own head and worried about my flight, I forgot to look her in the eyes, ask her her name and sincerely thank her for what she did and her kindness. Of course I thanked her, but I was also running away at the same time.
Thankfully, I made it through security and on my flight home to Denver. While on the jet bridge I noticed I didn’t have my back pack. Fuuuuuuuc$$$$$ I booked it off the plane and back to security where I found my backpack laying there, untouched. Sprinted back to the gate and onto the plane with enough time to board before the overhead space was full. (No chance I was checking my bag)
All this to say, even when you’re fragile and a little broken open, there is kindness and a light that is guiding you and watching over you. A light that sets something off in your brain to look for your backpack or that guides you to the exact person that is going to take care of both you and your bag in a really crappy moment. When you’re strong, be that light for someone, especially a stranger. When you’re fragile, look for those lights, they are there. We’re all connected and we all need each other.