In my blog today, I would like to share with you a woman I met several years ago. This was before I began asking my “What do you do to change the world?” question. Perhaps this conversation is where the seed was planted.
My husband, Steve, and I were flying back from North Carolina. Steve always gets to board first because he is a frequent flyer. He got on the plane and the next line began to form. Standing in line with me was a lovely woman. She was a friendly-looking woman yet she had a professionalism about her that intrigued me. We started talking.
By the time we got on the plane, I texted Steve and told him I was going to sit with her on the way home. He just laughed.
Jackie was a very smart woman. She worked at a university teaching/facilitating leadership. Now you can see why I was so interested in her. Leadership. I really enjoy leadership and all the opportunities that it presents.
Jackie's old boss at the university got a new job working in St. Louis. He couldn’t just walk away from her and the gifts she shared. He hired her to come to St. Louis and work here one week out of the month. I remember thinking, “Wow! That woman must really know what she is doing!”
We talked about all sorts of issues: lack of preparedness among staff and students, conflict resolution, the awesomeness of God, race issues, all sorts of things in that short flight time.
Before we landed, we traded information and promised to keep in touch. And we did, thanks to Facebook. We actually made several attempts to meet up when she was in town but something always got in the way. I really regret that now.
I always thought “next time.”
Well, after this weekend, next time will never come. I found out on FB that Jackie has passed on to her next journey. I do not know any of the circumstances, just that she has passed away. So many people were saying such beautiful comments about her.
It has really sent me into a reflective state all day today.
I am thankful Jackie was in my life, even if for a millisecond! Somehow I am a better version of me because of her. For me, Jackie exemplified how hard work pays off. For she earned the respect of her colleagues, judging from Facebook, she was well loved by her family, and to this stranger, who had the pleasure of about a 2-3 hour flight, she inspired me by being the woman of God she knew she was called to be.
Rest in peace, Jackie. May those beautiful angels hold you by your hard-working hands as they lead you to the Promised Land. I can hear them singing to her already.
As for us who are left to reminisce, we are again reminded to love deeply, walk softly on the souls of others, and always be aware we are changing the world – one conversation at a time.
Until next time, make tomorrow the best day yet.