Month Ten. Lineholder. #COS.

The last few weeks have been hard.

I've been laying low. After an incredible, life-changing trip to the Middle East, I returned home, expecting that energy to permeate my everyday life.

But it didn't.

Maybe it was a bit of reverse culture shock. Maybe it was exhaustion. Maybe it was the fact that my worldview had been shaken.

I wasn't myself.

I returned to work the day after taking a car to a bus to a sherut taxi to a plane to another plane to home. I felt off center. My first shift was a quick SEA-LAX turn. Immediately, I was met with the sound of people grumbling, pushing their way onto the plane. When I tried to assist a man shoving a too-big bag into the overhead bins, he snapped at me and the bag fell, almost hitting my face. Not a good start.

The rest of the flight soared as my mood plummeted. I had a headache. Everyone needed something. We weren't stocked properly. The call button kept going off.

Ding. ding. ding.

I just wanted to hide. When we arrived at LAX, I didn't even consider hopping off the plane to take a look around, or grab a lemonade at my favorite, aptly named spot in Terminal 6. I just crunched myself up in a ball and sniffled, conscious of some sort of illness sneaking over me.

This wasn't fun.

By the time we finished our roundtrip turn, I was sick as a dog and never wanted to see an airplane again. I ended up calling in sick for my four-day starting the next day, and crawled into bed.

I felt like hiding from the world. I started to understand Kara's thoughts on flying. I started to wonder if I even wanted to fly anymore.

The next two weeks were a mixture of doctors, medicine and being told that I couldn't fly. I was worried at first, but then took a dose of my own advice: sometimes, you just have to take a step back and breathe.

I spent a lot of time in nature. I live on an island outside of Seattle, but rarely spend time there because of all my flying and traveling. Now, I was sick and needing to heal, and the island took me in. I kept my feet on the ground. I loved it. I didn't even miss the views from the galley service door window.

I processed a lot of what I had witnessed in Israel. And I'm still processing it. I felt better, bit by bit.

And then it was time to go back to work.

Yesterday was a simple SEA-SJC turn. I was assigned first class. I was nervous. It had been almost two weeks. Would I still hate flying? Would the stress and headache return?

As my first class passengers settled in, something did happen. I felt a warm breeze coming from the open main cabin door. I looked out for a moment and saw the gleam of the wings and a plane just taking off. I shivered, entrapped. I couldn't wait to get back in the air.

Service was fun. In between the initial rush of service, hot towels and linens, I took a moment to breathe. I crouched down in the galley, back against the bulkhead and looked out the galley service door window.

Clouds, and then a burst of sunshine. The coast, as we swooped in over California. Mountains, fog, and more sun. I could watch this forever.

Today was day two, and my enthusiasm hasn't disappeared. I worked with a sweet lady who has been with us for seventeen years. We flew to Colorado Springs late at night, amidst a day of delays. She handled her passengers with care and genuine love, answering the dreaded "what time will we land?" question with patience and understanding. I opened up to her about my two weeks of 'falling out of love' with flying. She laughed.

"Oh, you'll have days like that. It's just like being married; there are moments when you can't stand the other's face and you just want to hide! ...But at the end of the day, whose face to you want to see?"

And with that, the phone rang. It was the pilots, telling me to look out the galley service door window.

Northern lights, green and blue and faintly dancing. My heart soared.

You, I thought. I want to see you.


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