Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Everyday Heros Hidden in Plain Sight—Part Two


Today's post is part two of last week's from blogger Carol Anne Swett. She has an amazing site, and I encourage you to visit her Confessions of a Fraidy Cat blog.Blessings,
Edie



I entered the plane breathless for the moment I could deplane. As my new friend's story unfolded, I found myself dreading the moment we'd land as much as I dreaded Hurricane Sandy's turbulence.

The plane lurched and bounced. We each grabbed at the other's hands, drew back a bit, and let out a nervous half giggle-half sigh when the plane evened out. For a few minutes, I had forgotten I was afraid.

An expectant mom weaved to the back of the plane trying to beat the waves of morning sickness chasing her to the lavatory beside us. We groaned kindred groans silently praying the plane would fly smoothly for her sake as well as our own.

"May I ask what you do for our country?"

“I've just gotten back from Iraq.” Her calm tone implied it was about the same as a trip to the grocery. She spoke of warm relationships with Iraqi people. She alluded to successes and failures she experienced while there.

Confidence oozed out of her pores. The fraidy cat in me blushed over my tendency to develop the vapors with the least provocation.

A spring deployment to Afghanistan overshadowed anticipated Christmas celebrations with her family. The light in her eyes dimmed a bit. She admitted to some apprehension about the future and explained how her family would care for her children and foster tot. She winced when she spoke about the hardships of being away so long.

I waxed bold and asked specific questions about how women cope with the rigors of life in the field. She laughed, “You'd be amazed at what you can do with eight ounces of water and baby wipes!”

I told her about my inner fraidy cat. My idea of roughing it involved trendy lugged soled hiking boots and a walk over to the glassed in elevators at the Embassy Suites hotel. She rewarded me with quick, easy laughter that captivated my motherly heart.

The plane gave another jolt. Again, I had forgotten all about hurricanes, turbulence, and plane crashes. We agreed our present circumstances were claustrophobic at best. 

She chuckled and told me about her favorite way to fly. In a helicopter. The kind with no doors – for easy out and easy in. She talked about the freeing sensation of flying low and fast with the wind against herr skin. Her words made me dizzy.

To everyone else on the plane, she was just another weary traveler thankful to be headed home before the storm shut the airport down. To me, she was an everyday hero hidden in plain sight. One who commiserated with my flying phobia even though she liked flying on door-less helicopters.

I did what was, for me, a heroic thing. I told her I was a person of faith and asked if I could say a prayer for her right then and there. Tears flickered and threatened to dampen her lashes as she nodded o.k.

I wrapped her in a motherly embrace and thanked the good Lord above for honoring me with the cramped, claustrophobic seat in the back of the plane. How else would I have met the hero hidden in plain sight? I thanked him for my friend in passing and begged him to follow her with peace and protection now and through all the days of her long life.

I asked him to bless her family and their time together. Lastly, I prayed Godspeed over her and her soldiers while asking God to bring peace to troubled lands through the work they do.

As the minutes ticked down, we talked about the longing for comforts of home. I asked about care packages and gathered advice about items to include and ones to leave out. I promised our chance meeting would make a difference even if I didn't know how just then.

The gentle touchdown came all too quickly. I knew life would carry us on to where we were headed. I would soon be a faint memory in the rear view mirror of her life. She, however, would be indelibly inked on the memories of my heart.

~~~~~~~                             


I am combining an effort to honor this soldier with the Twitter campaign to honor the memories of the Sandy Hook, NJ shooting victims. My friends at Home Educating Family's blog offered the chance to share my vision with you on their site. 

Join me in #26acts of kindness for men and women in uniform. Fraidy cats can accomplish some awesome things when we work together! To visit me at Home Educating Family's blog for more information, click their link below:
Home Educating Family

~~~~~~~

Carol Anne always wanted to be a writer. As an empty nest loomed, she began the journey of personal re-invention and discovered her first writing love -- blogging. In addition to her own blog, she is a writer for Home Educating Family's blog and guest posts for others when the occasion arises. She recently joined forces with a group of internet consultants as the staff Virtual Assistant and Social Media Consultant. Additionally, her own website will go live any day now. That's enough to make a techno-fraidy cat faint! Connect with Carol Anne through TwitterFacebook and her blog, Confessions of a Fraidy Cat!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Everyday Heros Hidden in Plain Sight—Part One

Today's post is by a friend of mine, blogger Carol Anne Swett. She has an amazing site, and I encourage you to visit her Confessions of a Fraidy Cat blog. I'll post the second part of this story next Monday, so be sure to stop back by!
Blessings,
Edie


Everyday Heros Hidden in Plain Sight.
by Carol Anne Swett

I stumbled down the plane aisle trying not to betray my infrequent flier status. Did my eyes shifting back and forth while checking aisle and seat numbers betray my lack of nonchalance? 

Confusion raised a nervous sweat on my forehead when I realized my seat was in the last row vs the middle of the plane. To make matters worse, I inconvenienced the young lady in the aisle seat to get to my window seat.

Hurricane Sandy bore down on us sending my flying nerves into pandemonium. I felt like a great white whale stuffed into a tuna can about to be dropped into the eye-wall of a hurricane.

The flying public is not overly chatty these days. So, I tried to figure out how to retrieve my book from below the forward seat given the one square inch of wiggle room afforded me.

Recognizing futility when I saw it, I sighed surrender and settled back to begin my prayers for arrival without aid of an airsickness bag. I gave a nervous glance at my seatmate expecting banal indifference. Trying to hide my startled reaction when her eyes met mine, I allowed a quick, "Nervous and infrequent flier . . . ."

To my surprise, she gave a sigh of appreciation and said, "Oh, I know! Me too!"

Rather than offering a begrudging acknowledgment of my plight and settling back with her own distractions, she drew me into an easy conversation. Had I any idea of the truth about her flying experience, I would have suspected her camaraderie was for my benefit only. Little did I know she was an everyday hero hidden in plain sight.

We asked the polite questions strangers on planes ask. We commiserated with relief knowing each understood the other's anxiety. The flight promised to replicate an old wooden roller coaster if the weatherman could be trusted.

We talked about the book she was reading and how it resonated given her life experience. It was only natural for our conversation to turn to her family. When she spoke of her children, her face took on a glow any company selling beauty products would die to reproduce.
In her early thirties, she held a newly minted MBA. Pride in her recent achievement paled when she spoke of being mom to a tween and teen boy and girl. On top of an already busy life, she was a new foster mom. The pitter patter of tenderness punctuated her excited giggles as she told me the story of how the toddler came to be in her care. 

When our talk turned to specifics of her vocation, the truth began to slip out bit by bit. She too was traveling for business. A shy smile appeared when she explained. Rather than traveling for her primary employer, she was traveling as part of her military service.

During each leg of her trip she explained she'd been privileged to give up my place in line to a uniformed member of the armed services. Each time, the service person replied, "Are you sure?"

Her adamant reply erupted, "If I could, I would do more!"
I shook my head in wonder to find this amazing woman, young enough to be my daughter, was one of the ones I been watchful for as I traveled. Dressed in street clothes, she would have vanished in the crowd but for our sharing cramped seats at the back of a plane. Sometimes God pulls some sneaky ones, doesn't he?

"National Guard?" I asked. Her smile glowed again as she nodded an affirmation. The writer in me sat up like a dog begging for treats. You know me. I always need to know more.

What about you fraidy cat? Have you ever met someone and known the meeting would change your life? I can't wait to tell you the rest of this story. When I'm done, I hope you'll join me in random acts of kindness. See you tomorrow, and we'll get this party started, o.k.?

Hebrews 13:2 (NLT) Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!


Carol Anne always wanted to be a writer. As an empty nest loomed, she began the journey of personal re-invention and discovered her first writing love -- blogging. In addition to her own blog, she is a writer for Home Educating Family's blog and guest posts for others when the occasion arises. She recently joined forces with a group of internet consultants as the staff Virtual Assistant and Social Media Consultant. Additionally, her own website will go live any day now. That's enough to make a techno-fraidy cat faint! Connect with Carol Anne through Twitter, Facebook and her blog, Confessions of a Fraidy Cat!