Recently I had an opportunity to experience the kindness of strangers in an unexpected way. I was returning home to the USA and my plane experienced an electrical failure. Luckily this was discovered before we left the ground, so we deboarded the plane and proceeded to wait for further details. What happened over the next 12 hours of waiting ended up teaching me much about the love, warmth and natural goodness of humanity. As the minutes stretched into hours I began to strike up conversations with many of my fellow travelers. I have to say, I met the loveliest people during those hours. We talked about our travel plans, shared pictures of our vacations and discussed our views on an endless variety of topics. I encountered so many wonderful people that it ended up feeling like a blessing instead of an inconvenience to my travel plans.
What I realized from that experience was while I didn’t have a choice about the delay, I did have a choice about how I experienced the delay. It started me thinking about the endless opportunities we have every day to turn delays, waiting or inconvenience into a beautiful practice of accepting the present moment with joy and curiosity. Fighting with the circumstances before us only serves to make us miserable and really does nothing to change what is happening. It only assures us that we will feel angry and frustrated while experiencing the situation.
Before boarding the plane some 12 hours after our originally scheduled departure, I approached the ground agents that had been helping us for all those hours. I thanked them for their assistance and told them how much I appreciated their kindness and great attitude during the long delay. That simple act of kindness took little effort on my part, but it clearly meant a lot to these workers. Tears welled up in their eyes as they thanked me and told me that it was nice to be acknowledged in that way. In the end, I was thankful my travel plans did not go smoothly and was actually grateful for the delay. I walked away with a deeper understanding of what it means to surrender to the moment in front of me and stay present to the opportunities for love and connection that are all around us…even in the most unexpected of circumstances.