Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Mining Your Past for Gems

Winning 1st Place for my writing comes directly from mining experiences in my past and fictionalizing them. Dreams do come true. But, you have to work toward them a little every day. Your past is the key that God gives you to unlock your future. It may not feel like it at the time...

I had a great chat with a friend today at the gym. We ran into each other accidentally. Those surprise moments are often the best.

We talked about life and dreams accidentally too. I'm working toward Mrs. Montana (I'll bet none of you knew that...okay, you did!) And my friend mentioned wanting to run a half marathon. Unforeseen circumstances derailed her last year. This year, she was not quite sure.

So I encouraged her. She has 14 weeks to prepare. She already runs 3 miles regularly. Adding 1 mile a week, 2 blocks a day, gives her 14 extra days for those "walls." The ones that stop you dead in your tracks with fatigue or unexpected interruptions.

This sweet-hearted lady asked me why I thought she should do it now.

Then the surprise moment happened for me.

I remembered my dream of wanting to become a flight attendant. I looked for anything about airlines, and that was when they changed the age from 18 to 23! I had to wait 5 more years to fly.

I realized that dream 20 years ago!

Achieving that small dream (huge to me) showed me that hard work, planning, and steadily working toward something every day could be part of my life for the rest of my days.

It started when I was 12. I had 6 week visits with my dad each summer in Vegas. That summer was quite traumatic. My mom had been recently released from the mental hospital after 2 1/2 months. And I was going back to the unknown, alone. My brother chose to stay with my father. My step-dad and mom were separated. It would mean just mom-and me-alone.

As I sat in the airplane seat, ready for take-off, I began to shake. Then the tears came. And they wouldn't stop. One of my most embarrassing moments. (Remember, back in those days, we wore dresses to fly even if we were only 12.) The plane couldn't take off with a hysterical kid on board. A kid that looked too grown up in nylons, black platform shoes, and a green plaid mini-dress.

All my dad had to do was show his face through the door, I would have run off the plane. Daddy, come get me.

But when he called his attorney, he was advised that I had to get off the plane of my own accord.

There I sat in fear, paralyzed. I needed to see a familiar face.

He stood plastered to the jetway door, craning his neck, hoping his little girl would come running out.

Finally, a flight attendant sat down beside me. She brought a ginger ale and spoke soothing sounds. She held me for half the flight. Her comfort and kindness helped me through that day. So much that it became a dream for me to grow up and be just like her. Someone who could help people. A flight attendant.

The day I achieved that dream was my 23rd birthday. A huge turning point for me. I realized then that if I could achieve one dream, I could reach for another.

Many times over the last 20 years, I have drawn on those memories and feelings. They give me confidence in my own abilities and in the path that God lays before us.

I'm sure the lovely lady doesn't remember a frightened young girl, but I hope one day to meet her again in heaven and thank her. (It'd be okay if we met down here too ;-D ) Her compassion and generous heart helped one person. But she inspired me to help others for the rest of my life.

Heroes aren't always huge, muscular guys. Sometimes they are just doing their jobs in an average moment when the love in their life overflows to inspire love in someone else's with a helping hand-or ginger ale.

As I related this story to my marathon-running friend, I asked her if she could achieve a dream while she was still young, wouldn't that experience be worth knowing you can achieve future dreams? Wouldn't it be something rich to draw on?

What do you want to achieve? Can you break it down into small bites? Can you do a little bit every day?

My friend is now planning to add 2 blocks a day to her run so that in 14 weeks, she'll be running over 13 miles!

Little changes, little choices, tiny actions make a difference.

Go run your marathon, but make a plan so you can see the finish line. Then set another finish line further out. Can you imagine looking back at the end of your life's race? How many more dreams you will have achieved?

I hope your trophy case is very full!

PS Please visit me over at God Uses Broken Vessels too.


  1. Angie, this is so touching! No wonder you wanted to be a flight attendant. It's inspiring to read how much you've accomplished. You just have to have the plan, like you said, and the continuous drive to make it happen.

  2. What a great story. If you are inspired then you are bound to inspire others. They see in you something they want also. Keep going girl and we'll be rooting for our F.A.I.T.H. girl as she becomes Mrs. Montana! (Positive thoughts!)

  3. Oh, Angie, that was so sweet and inspiring. I have lots of future dreams, some I've acommplished and others I still hope to accomplish. But one ultimate dream is that whatever I do, I want to touch lives in some way to glorify God. He's so good to us, even when we can't see it.

  4. What a great story. And you're right. Our dreams do seem huge and unachievable until we break them down--step one, step two. . .even a toddler doesn't learn to run across a room in one day.
    Thanks for the encouragement, Ang.

  5. What a wonderful story! How cool would it be if she read this blog post somehow and remembered? :)