To the Woman on the Plane

I have really been battling, no, struggling internally with what content I want to put out there for the world to see on this blog. Yes, I love posting the fun stuff (i.e. pretty travel photos, cute bags, new outfits, flattering angles, beauty products, etc.). I know I wanted to include some more ‘hard-hitting’ topics, because frankly, I feel like that is part of being balanced. For those who have read some of my other posts, you may already have insight into my debate on including topics regarding my faith on here. Yes, I absolutely decided it was important. However, even since that decision, it has still been a struggle. Am I doing the right thing? Maybe I am the only one who feels like this and my opinions are way off-base? Will this be successful if I do include this? How much do I include? How often do I post about it? Will I do the topics justice? Am I representing the church how it should be represented? Is that topic too controversial? Am I shying away from what I really need to be posting? Everyone has a blog, why is mine any different? Am I a good enough writer to get my message across? (Obviously, I have been doing a lot of overthinking). Well, in the midst of this internal battle, I met a woman on a plane.

How Did That Happen?

This past weekend, I went on a trip to Austin, Texas (blog post about this trip will be coming up!). I had two long, very late flights that I took right after work on Friday night. I was not looking forward to the flights. I was already whipped from the previous week of work and my connecting flight was WAY out of the way. I was one of the first people to board and an older couple sat beside me. The woman sat directly next me. She smiled big and immediately introduced herself and asked where I was headed. I told her I was headed to Texas to visit one of my best friends for her bachelorette party for the weekend. She then proceeded to tell me she was headed to California to visit some family….

It is kind of hard for me to explain what happened next, I don’t know what it was to be honest.

Something just clicked between us. I can’t even remember what we talked about next or how it started but our conversation just flowed from there.   Literally, we talked and talked and it was EASY (if you are my husband or my family, this may not shock you, but still). I talked to her for THREE HOURS straight.

Your Catholic?

About thirty minutes into our conversation, she happened to notice my Catholicism book by Robert Barron on my lap. She asked me if I was Catholic (Oh dear…here we go). I told her that I was. She immediately perked up and revealed to me that her son is likely going to get engaged to a Catholic girl and she, being Methodist, had so many questions and concerns. I explained to her that I was a convert from a protestant denomination, so I completely understood having questions. My inner wanna-be apologist was pumped for the opportunity to test my faith-based knowledge, but my inner doubt kicked in as well (please refer to the inner self-doubt questions in paragraph one). I was nervous. Let me tell you right now, she was a very intelligent lady. She asked smart questions and kept me on my toes. I literally felt like I had to pull from every source of Catholic apologetics I have learned over the last three years, and even still there were a few theological nuances that I had to admit to her that I didn’t know off of the top of my head (made a mental note for the future to brush up on it). I dispelled the never-ending ‘we worship Mary’ rumor (can I get a dollar for every one of those?). I also had to gently explain why she shouldn’t take communion at mass even though she is a Christian. She then revealed to me through an anecdotal story, that her and her husband were graduates from Yale and they were both medical physicians(!). I about died. No wonder she was so stinking smart.

Okay, now that is just weird.

Towards the end of the flight, she happened to mention that her daughter suffers from a mental health disorder and has struggled with it for years. At this, I was just like… no. way. There is NOT this much coincidence in the world. I happen to work for a hospital (a great one, by the way) that treats this exact disorder. I told her about where I worked, and she started to cry. Like really cry. She told me that she had been praying about all of this for a very long time. She felt that she was meant to meet me and that she was meant to be on that flight, in that seat. Little did she know, I felt the same way. A couple minutes later, I felt the landing gears hit pavement. As everyone got up to grab their bags, I gave her the number to the hospital where I worked and she thanked me profusely. We said our well-wishes and hugged. As I started walking off that flight, what had just happened started to hit me. I started to tear up. That is likely the last time I will ever see her.

To the Woman on the Plane…

I didn’t want to be on that flight. I was upset that I couldn’t get an earlier one and did not like how out of the way it was. I was exhausted and was plagued with self-doubt, particularly when it comes to my ability to speak about my faith. I believe- no- scratch that… I KNOW (truth is the truth y’all, whether or not we believe it) this intelligent, kind, Methodist woman was put there, next to my seat in 23B to test me, to push me, and to give me the confidence I needed. I didn’t have every single answer but that is okay. She still walked away knowing a little bit more than before (maybe she can help combat that ‘we worship Mary’ rumor 😉 ). Heck, maybe she just left with the belief that Catholics aren’t so bad. I would take that as a win. This is why I speak about it. This is why I keep learning. This is why I am not just a follower of the faith, but a student of it. I have a mission. I have a purpose. It’s funny how a Methodist can answer a Catholic’s prayers and a Catholic can answer a Methodist’s prayers. To the woman on the plane, in 23B, thank you.

As Pope Francis said, “I believe in God, not in a Catholic God. There is no Catholic God.”