This was the kind of morning that you just don't want to talk about, or you want to restart, or you want to forget happened. For starters, my morning started at 12:30 am when I finally arrived at my hotel after recruiting in a gym till 10:30pm, battling Atlanta traffic for an hour, and aimlessly trying to find a place open that was not fast food. So, I ate dinner at 12:30am.
After shoveling my food down in a less than manner-filled snarf, barely chewing before I swallowed, I laid down to go to sleep for a few hours before my morning flight.
6:00am a horrible screeching break sounding blast jolted me awake. As I looked around, confused where it was coming from, and realized it was the hotel alarm clock someone kindly set before me. So, I am up 20 minutes earlier than I planned.
Alright. Might as well shower. At 6am, up 20 minutes early, why won't my shower warm up?
A quick and cold shower to start off my day. I get ready and head out the door. As I walk out the back exit to my car, I walk into pouring rain. My umbrella is buried in my bag, so I make the decision to run to my car instead of stop and dig for the umbrella. Splashing through puddles and getting wetter by the step, I make it to my rental, take a deep breath, plug the airport into my gps, and start my drive to the airport.
The car rental place was smooth. I was still a little damp, but, was still ahead of schedule. I get on the train from the rental car center to ticket checkin. I am trying not to think about how hot it is on the train, but it is hot, and I can feel the sweat start dripping down the middle of my back. I make it to security check point. Atlanta is the busiest place I have ever been.
I am walking toe to toe with the people in front and behind, like rush hour traffic, we are moving at the same pace jammed in between security ropes together. The kind women who checked my ticket keeps screaming, "keep walking, don't slow down, keep walking, don't pet the dog, keep walking" over and over. The K9 dog sniffs us all, there is no way everyone is not sweating. I am. And it is hot.
I make it in, find a coffee get to my gate just as the plane is boarding. Swipe my ticket...."I am sorry miss, your gate has been moved to T7." Awesome. I took a second train here, what are the chances of me making this flight? I made a decision. It was my second jog of the day and it was 7:40am. The sprint was on. Paying no attention to how I looked, that my 2 carryon bags were flying all over the place, or that my coffee was splattering out the top even withal coffee stopper in it.
I made it to my new gate.
My sweat glands were officially pouring. I got in line. Swiped my ticket. "Excuse me ma'am, please step over here, you don't have a seat yet on this flight."
As I stood at the counter awaiting my fate, thankful for the time to cool off, I looked up and saw a pilot standing near by. We made eye contact, not in a weird kind of way, but in a way that was long enough to feel seen. He smiled and simply said, " Good morning!"
It wasn't a good morning at all in fact. But the joy he had in his voice made me believe that it was. I instantly felt my spirit lift. This pilot didn't know my story, didn't see my cold shower, spilled coffee, or the sweat pooling on the back of my shirt. He just genuinely chose to lite me up with a simple gesture.
This is what we don't do enough for each other. We look down at our feet in elevators, we obsessively check our phones while walking in congested areas, we don't hunt opportunities to lite people up. In no way am I implying it is wise to walk through the mall looking up at all times, grabbing every eye contact you can, and blurting out "good morning" or "have a great day" or "thank you so much for holding the door". That is weird. But I am suggesting we all look up more, we all hunt for opportunities to lite a stranger up with a confident hello, a simple and sincere compliment, or even just eye contact and a smiling nod.
We are all busy. We all have a story. This mans kind yet simple gesture transformed the trajectory of my day.
My challenge: seek opportunities to Be A Light in your daily journey. And see how your day changes. Could be the place you get coffee, the custodian you walk by saying hello to but have never asked their name, your secretary that puts your mail on your desk everyday, your spouse who every morning rushes out without a deep, passionate kiss goodbye. The opportunities are endless.