Tap tap tap tap tap tap tap… my wedge heels beat a rapid staccato against the tile floor of the terminal as I rushed to my gate. The line through security had been brutal… a level of chaos I didn’t realize existed. But it was my own fault. I should have been watching the time. And paying attention to the damn time zone.
I had done neither and as I arrived at the gate, secretly pleased that I wasn’t out of breath after sprinting a quarter of a mile. The door was shut. I’ve traveled enough and seen enough people do exactly what I had just done to know it was pointless beg them to open the door, so I got on the standby list for the next flight out.
I was sixth on the list, so as the waiting area filled up I began to wonder if I would be bumped to an even later flight. But as the gate agent was calling for the third boarding group to get on the plane I heard my name paged.
“We have seat for you in the exit row,” the curly-headed lady said, “Are you willing and able to assist in an emergency?”
“I am,” I responded with a smile.
Ticket in hand I made my way to the back of the line. The crowd slowly creeped forward, in a hurry but not. I feel into step, backpack across one shoulder, a bit out of place compared to the skirt and top I wore. But no one cared. Certainly not me.
I handed the recently printed paper to the gatekeeper of the shiny 737 and he looked up and said, “Willing and able?”
“I am,” I said for the second time.
Perhaps it was because the question had been asked twice. Or maybe it was because I still had a rush of energy from the success of the meeting I had flown to town for. Or maybe I was on an endorphin high from my futile sprint. Whatever the reason, I mulled over the question repeatedly. Willing and able. Willing and able. Willing and able.
As the smell of compressed air assaulted my nose as I boarded, I felt an inner strength surge through me and I smiled. I am willing. I am able. Willing to live. Able to embrace the moment. Willing to take risks. Able to think on my feet. Willing to be open. Able to trust. And for that I am thankful.
What are you willing and able to do?