Life Lessons from 44,000 Feet in the Air.

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Every year I pick a theme instead of making resolutions. 2009’s theme was: “Ask for what I want.”

This summer, I was on my way back from France, flying Air Canada, flight AC845. I had originally booked Lufthansa, but they did a switcheroo, as they often do, since they have some deal in place, I gather.

Lunch time arrived and I was told that the gluten free meal I had ordered (it’s a long flight … nine hours) was not on board, I must admit I was feeling a tad annoyed, and hungry. The gluten free madeleines from France I had in my carry-on bag were only going to satisfy me for a very short while. They only have so many meals on the flight, and they did not have mine. Ordering in can be a tad tricky at 44,000 feet up in the air.

When the flight attendant told me that they could give me some rice, my budding frustration did not abate. I imagined one sad, white, little scoop of rice in the middle of a slightly larger plastic plate. So when she asked what I wanted, I thought “What do I really want?” So I decided to tell her exactly that; if I could have whatever I wanted, here’s what I would like: I would like fish, with vegetables, and not covered in creamy, floury sauce of course. That’s it.

What happened next thing just blew my mind away. A plate arrived, a REAL plate, with REAL cutlery, with beautiful food, Carpaccio, smoked fish, slowly roasted julienned vegetables … A plate of cheeses as well and a wonderful fresh fruit salad—I SO dislike canned fruit salad … it’s just SO wrong! It was wonderful and so tasty and I was more than satisfied, when the flight attendant arrived with another plate with fish in butter sauce, small potatoes and roasted artichoke hearts! I could not finish all the food. There was wine too …

The other passengers around me could not help but stretch their neck to find out where the wonderful smells were coming from. I was thoroughly enjoying my food. And those who know me, know I love food … Plus I had just spend four weeks in France being spoiled on foie gras, magret de Canard, and lovely little rose wines from small wineries, in places like Cucuron.

I was extremely grateful and told the flight attendants as much. I gather they had gone into the “First Class Food Cupboard.” So I thanked them for a most gracious recovery and a wonderful meal.

For the lesson part …

Sometimes negative things happen, and it is often our first instinct to feel victimized, “why do these things always happen to me” kind of reaction. I started to do that on Flight AC 845. But then I voiced my wish, and kept an open mind, trusted that everything would be alright, and that I would be well taken care of. After all, I still had some madeleines and there was wine to be had. How bad could the situation really be …

But then life surprised me. People surprised me. Even one initially rather cranky flight attendant surprised me. And I do love surprises! Most especially good ones of course.

So I believe that it is in life as it was on this flight. I lost my job two days before leaving for France, and it will be more than alright. My car gave up the ghost while I was gone, and it will also be more than alright. I just had a little heartbreak and what will come next will be just wonderful as well. I just need to keep remembering to voice my wishes, keep an open mind and heart, and life and people are bound to beautifully surprise me again, with much more than I could even ask for.

So looking forward to it all!


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