‘Let me pretend I didn’t see him,” was my first thought.
These were the sum total of the words swirling around my head as I sat in my aisle seat, waiting for the plane to get seated, when I saw a former friend walking down the plane in my direction. I felt panicked at the prospect of acknowledging, or worse, having to make idle chit-chat with someone whose name when brought up in my presence usually had me spitting daggers through my eyes (well that’s what one friend informed me my eyes were doing, I was actually trying to feign nonchalance…go figure).
So there I sat in my seat willing this former-friend to pass by without striking up a socially awkward conversation, as they passed by my seat. It took me a few seconds to realise that they hadn’t actually walked past but had stopped moving and were now standing right by my seat. Quite confused-like I looked up to catch their beaming smile as they declared, “Oh this couldn’t have worked out any better” and moved to occupy the seat right next to me.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” and some non-PG-rated expletives were the thoughts that then came to mind…followed by shock.
I don’t believe in coincidences. Oh no, I believe every encounter or situation you find yourself presented with is a blessing or a lesson sent by The Maker himself. Expect, at that very moment I was sending my Maker some serious side-eye but also asking quietly “What the heck am I meant to do now?”
Like most things with God, I’m slowly learning, it doesn’t really work to ask him for a fully documented brief, complete with GPS coordinates, on what his ultimate plan is for me. Instead, when presented with a confusing or uncomfortable situation (case in point) it’s best to lead with an “I’m clueless here, so how about you show me how to get through this” kind of approach..
God is a creative genius, which in itself sounds like the most redundant statement I’ve ever written, so let me explain a little more what I mean by this:
1. We were on a plane.
Anyone who knows me well knows that the last place I generally want to be is on a plane. I’m anxious and somewhat panicked on take-off, landing and every time the slightest bit of turbulence hits, which in summation is the entire flight.
I found out it was near impossible to continue holding a grudge and ignore the person next to me when they spent a large chunk of the flight assuring me the plane wasn’t about to fall out of the sky in a very kind and non-patronising way.
2. Again. We were on a plane.
These metal capsules that zoom around in the sky aren’t the most spacious transportation vehicles out there. There was nowhere to go (read: hide). Not to mention that it is beyond awkward to spend one hundred minutes in such close proximity in silence so the inevitable occurred – conversation.
3. Three words (No, not those three words)
Tying up the loose ends of any relationship that has gone south, be it for platonic, romantic or vocational reasons, can feel an insurmountable feat. Things have been left unsaid or too much was said before and well, it’s not usually pretty. Factor in the swift passage of time, 7 years to be precise in this specific instance, and it’s harder to figure out where to even begin.
I never thought I would get any sort of apology from my former friend and yet it took less than 20 minutes up in the air to hear the words I had long given up hearing, “I am sorry”.
Although he initiated the apology, there was blame to be found on both our sides that led to the breakdown of our friendship. By the time the pilot had announced that the cabin crew should prepare for landing our reconciliation had been cemented over an hour worth of honest and courageous conversation – so much so that the guy in the window seat in our row kept shooting us “man, this is deep stuff” kinda looks during the course of the flight, lol.
Coincidences. I don’t believe in them and y’all can’t tell me any different 😉