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5 min. read

Someone purchased my book and asked me to sign it this past week. It caught me off guard when—let’s call her Tina—waved me down with my book in her hands yelling, “No you didn’t!” Experiencing Tina’s genuine excitement was refreshing after a completely absurd workday. (Tina isn’t on social for the curious minds).

Tina did not know what Views from the Cockpit was about. She had heard from someone who heard from someone else that it was out and bought several copies.

As we began to talk about VFTC, Tina shared some incredibly personal, deeply troubling information with me and asked me how she could get to a place of acceptance. She sobbed in my arms as I swore my secrecy, since I knew one of the people and now knew what they had done to flip the script on her.

Tina had been carrying this load for a long ass time. Tina told me that, for her, just from my book’s existence (?), it symbolized acceptance of tragedy—and she needed to speak to me. She admitted that the hurt she felt was so deep—oh so deep—that sometimes she wanted out. She had asked for a sign that it was ok to end it. I wrote a little bit about this level of pain…it’s physically located in your sternum where your chest meets your rib cage… it feels like a vacuum. I hope you never feel that.

Tina perceived herself and her family to be devout church goers. She reads her bible and admittedly felt not deserving of, and immune from, any and all chaos because of her devotion. She could not understand why her “flight” went into a tailspin. I didn’t know what to say, so I kept listening. Then, I guess it was my turn to cough up answers. I decided to just keep it 100 starting with, “Tina, you know I’m not a psychologist…my degree is in Business!” I feel like our experiences are too nuanced to fit into a cute self-help acronym.

I told her that the pain and hurt will not stop…it comes hand in hand with joy – the pain may become intermittent only with efforts to ease it – at least that was my experience. I told her that perfection did not exist. She could intend perfection for a generation. Part of the soul’s journey manifested into human form is to heal from imperfection and journey through an imperfect world. Perfection may be death after a lifetime (she wasn’t ready for my come through so I scaled it back – lol).

Didn’t want to “preach” at her, but I felt compelled to share that I’ve learned that associating oneself with purity, holiness, absolute authority, etc. does not make any one person those things. They are merely associations and attempts.

I told her that the fact that she had shared her story with me after all this time, like I had shared my story with my dad in the form of a book, meant that she was interested and seeking acceptance through progress. I told her that at some point she will have the chance to choose forgiveness and love or choose something else. I feel…if people seek to love and seek to forgive, the actions and the words to support love and forgiveness will flow like a backed up river. The intent to love—the intent to forgive will outweigh the desire to be perfect. I told Tina that I noticed that the words of books eventually finish. This unexpected conversation will finish. The person causing her pain may or may not change. I asked her, when that happens, what systems is she willing to build to ensure that she makes progress. I told her it’s ok if she doesn’t know, but I’m pretty sure it starts with Love…self-love. One step in the direction you seek is enough. Progress.

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