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,

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!


  1. Oh, this brought tears to my eyes and a knot in my heart. May your actions return multiplied. Thank you for this post. Blessings**

  2. Beautiful! And yes, tears to my eyes as well! What a gift and a blessing to pray with this lady. I'm sure she won't forget you either.