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  • Betty Girardeau

Crossing Paths


As most of you already know I really enjoy looking at the sky when I am out walking. Like snowflakes, it is never exactly the same from one minute to the next. And while the colors and different types of clouds are the major aspects, the con trails for airplanes add another element of interest as well. Since I live on a major flight corridor for incoming and outgoing flights to the Atlanta airport, these trails are often part of the sky scape. These trails from a few nights ago caught my eye especially as they intersected while going in opposite directions. When I see con trails, I often wonder where the planes are going or where have they come from? When I travel, I often look at the people around me either on the plane or in the terminal and wonder the same things. When you think about it our lives are chocked full of these instances where our paths intersect those of others for just a brief time. In most cases, we are affected little at all by them. Sometimes, however, they can have an impact both for good or ill. These days we tend to think about possible infection from someone who crosses our path, for example. But there can be some really wonderful experiences, too. I think about the time I was traveling on the interstate and made a rest stop during which I tried to buy a cold drink. The machine refused to take my money, though I tried several different bills. Some gentleman noticed my difficulty and came over and slid one of his bills in and almost immediately there was my cold drink. I offered to pay him back, and he refused, saying he would rather I "pay it forward" sometime when I saw someone needing help. Such a little thing, all done in the space of five minutes or less. But I have never forgotten his kindness and have tried to do just that more than once. Last fall one night when I was out to dinner with friends before a symphony concert, a perfect stranger at a nearby table had attracted the attention of our server and told her to bring him our dinner bills as he wanted to pay for them. We never learned his name, but we did figure out who had paid for our dinners and thanked him profusely. He said he had noticed we were having such a good time together that he wanted our evening to be even better. He had been in long and tedious business meetings all day, and sweetening our evening made his lackluster day end better. Occasions like this are rare, but they can certainly make you think how, with random acts of kindness, we can bring happiness and joy to others simply because of the fact that our paths had crossed for a brief period to time and we had noticed it.

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