Day Two: A Chance Encounter
Day 2: In Chapter One of You Are Enough, I have a very special encounter with someone that felt almost like an angelic experience. Talk about a time in your life when you have been “touched by an angel,” or had a God wink moment that helped get you back on track or see something in your life through new eyes.
I’ve had other moments in my life where I’ve experienced what I considered to be angelic encounters outside of the one that I talk about in the book. Moments when someone appeared in my life just to teach me a lesson or share a bit of wisdom, only to then then leave just as quickly as they came. One instance in particular stands out.
My high school sweetheart who I introduced you to in my second book, I’ve Never Been to Vegas But My Luggage Has, Matt, joined the Marines, active duty, right out of high school. That meant he was gone almost all the time, with brief weekend visits here and there. All too brief weekend visits. He would come home, I would be thrilled to see him, our precious time together would fly by…then it would be time to take him back to the airport and cry my eyes out all the way back home. I was only 19 years old, so having a boyfriend who was only home maybe two or three times a year was just heart-wrenching.
On one such occasion, Matt’s best friend and I had taken him to catch his flight together. Remember, back in those days, you could actually walk someone all the way to their gate and even sit with them until their plane arrived. On this particular night, I was having such a hard time with Matt leaving again, I said my farewells quickly and went to sit at an airport coffee shop and wait on his best friend to meet me after Matt’s plane left. I just couldn’t bear to watch him take off and fly away from me again…having no idea when he would return to me.
The airport coffee shop was almost empty, except for an older gentleman, sitting by himself at a table in the corner. I took a seat at a table next to his, wanting to be alone with my thoughts but still wanting the comfort of someone’s presence there with me. I was crying, reliving the past few days with Matt and wondering how long it would be before I would get to see him again.
“Are you okay, little miss?” I heard a kind, quiet voice ask. It was the old man at the table next to me. I noticed he was wearing a fedora-type hat and a trenchcoat, which felt like an odd ensemble for an indoor airport coffee shop.
“Oh yes sir…I’m fine,” I replied, wiping my eyes. “I’m just a little sad because I just had to say goodbye to my boyfriend. Well, actually his plane doesn’t leave for another hour or so, but I went ahead and said goodbye because I’m just having such a hard time with letting him go. I didn’t want to draw things out and start blubbering and make a scene.” I had no idea why I kept rambling on, as I’m sure the man was just being polite and didn’t want or need to hear my life story. But something about his presence was calming, and comforting, and I felt instantly like I could tell him anything.
“Don’t you think you ought to go back and be with him until his plane takes off?” The old man asked with a smile. “Savor every moment you have with him? I know that’s what I would do.”
I sat pondering for a moment. “But what if I start bawling and I embarrass him?” I asked. “Isn’t it better that I just say my goodbyes to him calmly and then come sit here in this empty coffee shop and bawl and only embarrass myself?”
The old man laughed. “I’m pretty sure if this young man loves you like I can see you love him…he can handle a few tears. I’m sure he’d rather handle a few tears if it meant spending more minutes to spend with you.”
The old man was right. What was I doing? Why was I missing out on precious time with the man I loved in the name of…neatness? Isn’t love supposed to be wonderful and beautiful and magical and messy and inconvenient and wildly outside the lines? I hurriedly stood up, dabbed my eyes with a napkin, and turned to the old man.
“You’re absolutely right. I’m going to go back and sit with him until his plane arrives. Thank you so much! Thank you for helping me see what was right in front of my face.”
The old man smiled. “My pleasure, young lady. Godspeed to you both.”
I rushed out of the coffee shop and back out into the crowded airport to go find my love and sit with him until it was time for him to go. Because that’s what love does. It stays until the very end. Until the last page. Until the credits roll. It doesn’t take the easy way out and it doesn’t go hide in a corner out of fear. It doesn’t go halfway. It goes all the way, every single time. It doesn’t just show up for the beautiful beginning, but also for the bittersweet end. Love is ALL IN.
It took an old man in a trenchcoat in an airport coffee shop to remind me of that.
I glanced back one last time to smile and wave at the old man before the coffee shop was out of sight.
He was gone.
You can get my book You Are Enough: Heartbreak, Healing, and Becoming Whole at any bookstore or order it here.
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Beautiful story, Mandy!
I can’t wait to get a chance to be “all in” with a loving partner…
My day two.