The Lady on the Plane

It was quite nerve wracking. I’d never been to Europe before, and I’m spending almost half a year in a country that neither the language nor the geography did I understand. Each minute that passed had made me doubt my decision, and I asked myself whether or not I made the right choice with going abroad. But it was way too late for that, and I knew somewhere inside all this anxiety there was excitement. I just had to find it.

As my parents wished me off, I boarded the plane and waited no longer than 30 minutes before it sailed towards the Atlantic. Here is where I sat next to a lady with a wonderfully colorful red shirt with black diamond patterns. She had a very motherly disposition with a kind face and warm smile. We engaged in a light conversation, exchanging our destination plans and living locations in Georgia. Her name was Sherry, and she made her residence near the Blue Ridge Mountains, almost 90 minutes north of where I live.

Sherry and I began to talk about richer topics, whether it was the importance of experience, or the ability to take care of your loved ones. Two hours into the conversation, it reached a critical point. As I was explaining to her my obligation and responsibility to my parents, she told me that her son passed away 4 years ago. Although I do not know the cause, she began telling me the story of her son. He was not only a bright student, but he also had a dream much larger than his own life. During his adult years, he moved to San Francisco where he worked to provide bare necessities for the less privileged and homeless, taught classes for disabled children, and opened his own soup kitchen. I was a little embarrassed, but my eyes started swelling with tears.

Sherry told me that she forwent her only opportunity to visit him right before he passed because of certain obligations at home. In a way, her mind out-reasoned her heart, and she was unable to see him before the unbearable happened. She told me to always listen to my heart, no matter what. The mind may try to convince you otherwise, but the heart speaks so much more that logic simply cannot explain.

That is what Sherry taught me today. We rely too much on the mind, with logic and reason dominating our decisions, even though our hearts tell us to do something else. To forget the intrinsic power of the heart is to abandon our “6th sense”- our ability to make decisions because something much more powerful inside us is speaking. All we have to do is listen.

As we arrived in Germany, we exchanged business cards and phone numbers. Though I don’t expect to see her again, I am thankful that she shared her wisdom with me. I hope to write her soon, so that I can thank her for the kind, thoughtful, and deep words. What an amazing introduction to my trip.