Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Believe the Best

This is what bread is supposed to look like (I'm talking
to you, American Airlines): fresh, soft, warm, and swimming
in butter-- glorious, glorious butter.   

My recent flight from Paris to Dallas is now legendary.  I wish I could say this was because I had deep, thought-provoking conversations with fellow passengers while nibbling on exotic French cheeses and watching a marathon of English-subtitled French noir films. 

Oh no. 

It was a 10 hour hell ride.  

It started off well enough: I arrived with plenty of time, was whisked through to my gate (heads up: telling the French how much you love their country will expedite your airport security experience), shopped leisurely at the wonderful boutiques (mostly at Laduree, which sells my favorite, ridiculously beautiful and outrageously priced candles), and sat down to a lovely farewell breakfast of vegetable quiche and deliciously strong French coffee. 

Ahhh.  La vie est belle. 

I then boarded the plane.  I noticed as I sat down that my area was surrounded by men.  Man on my left, man on my right…you get the picture.  I didn’t think too much about this at the time, other than, huh, there are lots of men (deep thoughts, people).

Shortly after takeoff, we were served lunch, which included limp lettuce and a sad little tomato, a wheat-flavored rock, and “chicken”.  

A few hours later, I started feeling a little off.  And then, pretty uncomfortable.  


All of a sudden, I bolted out of my seat and sprinted to the back of the plane, where an all-knowing flight attendant ushered me into the bathroom.  I barely made it. 

As I sat back down, I noticed a few curious stares from people in my row.  I smiled reassuringly (Oh that?  I just really needed a 7-Up) and returned to my movie.

I was hoping I’d feel better.  Unfortunately, I continued to feel worse. 

An hour prior to landing, the flight attendant/detective appeared and handed me a giant trash bag, “just in case.”  Not surprisingly, every eye within a 10 row radius was on me.   I just smiled, said “thank you” and to comfort everyone on the plane, added: “I’m sure I won’t need it.”

Famous. Last. Words.

As we began landing, stuck in seat belt hell, with nowhere to go without a US Marshall on my tail, I emptied my last three days worth of food into the giant trash bag. 

I was slightly terrified imagining the disapproving  faces of all the men I would encounter once I pulled my head out of the bag.  I assumed they'd be disgusted, horrified.

My first thought: I want my mommy!  

My second thought: I wish I was sitting by women.  At least they’d help take care of me.

I was in for a shock. 

Jean-Pierre on my left, in his thick French accent: Would yoo like some Kleenex? 

Me: Oui.

Jean-Pierre with the most compassionate eyes I’ve ever seen: And perhaps some mints?

Me: Oui.

Having arrived at the gate, I stood up to collect my things, when Francois on my right reached out to rub my back and, very concerned, asked: 

So, you are ok, yes?

Me: Oui.

After customs, Jean-Claude, who was sitting next to Francois, bee-lined for me and asked:

May I offer you a Wet Nap?

Me: Oui.

At this point, I was FLOORED.  These lovely gentlemen could not have been kinder.

I felt a bit convicted.  

It’s so easy to believe the bad, that I forget to believe the best.  

And that’s a tragedy.  Because there’s so much good in this world.  

Sometimes I have to seek it out.  But sometimes, it’s sitting right next to me.

Love chooses to believe the best about people. It gives them the benefit of the doubt. It refuses to fill in the unknowns with negative assumptions. And when our worst hopes are proven to be true, love makes every effort to deal with them and move forward. As much as possible, love focuses on the positive. - Stephen Kendrick
*Yes, I made up the French guys' names.  Who knows, maybe they're true.

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