Wednesday, April 4, 2007

How May I Serve

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New York City. What a fun trip. I had been visiting my sister. My aunt, cousin, niece and another sister joined me.

And then it was almost time to leave. My NYC based sister insisted that I have a massage. "She's really good. It will energize you for the trip. I will not take no for an answer."

"Okay," I agreed even though the idea of having a massage didn't appeal to me.

For some reason I couldn't relax. Frankly, I had been a little on edge throughout the week. Let's just say being in Oklahoma, especially rural Oklahoma, feels a lot safer than walking down a New York sidewalk. I felt more like a warrior and well, let's be honest here, warriors don't get massages.

Massage Lady showed up. The room was prepared and I tried my best to be ready.


No matter what I did, I couldn't relax. I wanted the massage to be over and I wanted to go home. About fifteen minutes in, I decided to try another tactic. I decided to focus on something else.

"What," I wondered?

I can't explain it. But I started doing something no warrior would ever do. Or, would She? I started repeating two phrases: "Thy will be done." And, "How may I serve." For forty-five minutes I repeated these phrases.

At the La Guardia airport, I got my marching orders.

The first thing I did upon arrival was to change seats. I had been assigned a middle seat. I wanted to sleep. I wanted a window seat.

"The only one left is all the way in the back," she said, "is that okay?"

I had a three-hour layover in Chicago. "Yes, I'll take it."

The back rows loaded first. Soon my seatmates joined me. They were the non-English speaking Chinese couple I had spotted in the waiting area. We nodded greetings.

After taking off, they asked me where I was going. "Oklahoma City," I said.

"We too," they said. "We too!"

I didn't believe them. They misunderstood me. It was unlikely the only people traveling to Oklahoma City from New York would be seated in the same row. I asked more questions. Slowly enunciating each word, I discovered the man could understand me. He nodded his head and showed me his ticket. Turns out they were going to Oklahoma City to work in a restaurant--he as a chef and she as a waitress.

About halfway to Chicago, I realized my prayers had been answered. Here sitting right next to me was my, "How may I serve" gift.

The two shared their food, gave me candy for my daughter, took pictures of me in Chicago, and made me smile throughout the trip. On the Chicago to Kansas City leg of the flight, they wore white facial masks with holes for their noses, eyes and mouths. I loved watching the expressions of fellow passengers as they tried to figure out what they were wearing.

Before our trip together ended, I showed them how to NOT get a C boarding pass (if you've ever flown Southwest Airlines you know how critical that is on a FULL flight) and helped them not spend hours looking for the International gate they so persistently wanted to find.

When it was time to say goodbye, the woman gave me a beautiful necklace and matching set of earrings. Before going to the ladies room, I made sure they headed out the right door to meet their driver.

As I headed out to the parking garage, I saw my new friends riding up the escalator to the departure level. I waved them down and again pointed to the doors they needed to use. We bid farewell for a second time.

I walked to the parking garage. It didn't take me long to realize I was walking around in circles. Lost, I stopped to ask someone a question. And then I saw my friends again. They were riding up the escalator in the parking garage.

"No. No," I told them. "Come here. I will show you." I decided I needed to escort them to the spot. And I did. We said our final goodbyes.

I think about them often. My prayer. How my prayer was answered. I also wonder if they are happy. There's a part of me that wonders if they made it! I believe they did. The next time I visit the city, which will be in early May or late April (if I'm lucky), I plan to visit them. Guess what I'll be wearing?

Since that experience, though, I haven't been able to drop my new prayer. I am fantastinated by it and now, always looking for my lastest assignment. My newest is a radio show for mothers and daughters called The Mother Daughter Club. I'll share more about it later.

I don't know about you, but I look forward to waking up in the morning to see what's next.

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