Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Adoration Above the Clouds

I mentioned this incredible encounter I had on my way home from Victoria on Sunday. 

Don't worry, I did not cheat on my husband and join the mile high club!  Why would I when I am the luckiest woman in the world?  While I was away, Adam spoiled the girls with food and fun, all the while taking over all the domestic duties including laundry and even cutting up mountains of fresh vegetables for this week's meals!

No, I did not find romantic love on the airplane, but I fell in love in a different way.

I was seated beside a couple on the airplane, the husband beside me, as we departed from Vancouver.  I kept to myself reading the whole time (my television was broken, of course!).  About two-thirds of the way through the flight, both got up to use the washroom.  When they returned, they switched seats and the wife sat down beside me and immediately struck up conversation.  She proudly told me that she and her husband were on their way to Rome for a 50th wedding anniversary celebration trip.  I instantly knew these were special people.

The woman (I'll keep their names confidential), said she had a son and daughter in Vancouver and three grandchildren.  Their son is a lawyer and their daughter a banker.  She spoke proudly and lovingly of them all.

I asked her the secret to a 50 year marriage and she said: patience, understanding and...if I might read between the lines, the ability to pick your battles.  She also said you have to accept your partners differences, giving the example that her husband (who was giggling through this whole conversation), does not ever give apologies, but she knows him well enough to know when he is sorry for something.  Hmm, very wise.

I couldn't place their accent, so I asked her where they are from originally.  She explained that they came to Canada over 40 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya, after being forced to flee following independence in the 1960s (they're Ismailis, I discovered, after she quoted the Aga Khan).  They had to leave everything behind and arrived here with nothing.  She told me she worked for a bank until her retirement (they are both in their 70s) and he owned several businesses and still works several days a week in a post office to keep himself busy.

She asked if my family is all in Toronto and I explained that my husband and children, and extended family are, but my parents are in Kingston.  The woman literally almost fell off her seat.  She was shocked and explained that she thought I was a university student and couldn't believe I was old enough to be married with kids.  Ha!  I thought I would kiss her right then!  I informed her that I actually just turned 39 and she was astounded.  I'm thinking that maybe her eye sight is starting to fail her, although admittedly, with my hair pulled up, yoga pants on, and back pack, I was definitely dressed like a university student. 

The couple asked what Adam and I do, and about our children and our lives.  They were so impressed by all of our credentials, which, to be honest, made me feel like a fraud, since having lots of degrees doesn't necessarily mean you are smart or successful...particularly in my case!  But we discussed the importance of education and learning and she was very impressed with my counselling practice.  She was quite knowledgeable about infertility and IVF. They were also astounded by how humble they thought I am.  She exclaimed that she couldn't believe someone so smart and accomplished was dressed so casually and unassumingly.  I laughed since I rarely get praised for being a lazy bum (since the airport shuttle picked me up at 6:05am, I literally rolled out of bed, got dressed in my comfy clothes, ran a brush through my hair, and put on a bit of mascara).  Honestly, I do not deserve any of this admiration and praise, but I love the place where they were coming from.  I just loved them and felt this intense connection.

I shyly took a business card out of my back pack, hesitating before I offered it to her.  But the minute I did, she exclaimed that it must be God's will as she was just going to ask me for one.  I told her if they ever come to Toronto, to call me.  In return, she insisted I program their phone number into my phone and call them if we ever go to Vancouver.  I said we very well may, seeing as we have friends and family there.  She said it would be their honour to host my family at their house for Indian food (my favorite!!).

While I might assume that some people might say such things to be kind, I know they were sincere.  I would bet anything that even 2 years from now, if I called them up, they would remember me.  Honestly, I will always remember them as their kindness and warmth was absolutely dazzling.

Most people loathe when others start conversations with them on planes, but really, who knows when or where you might meet the most amazing people!