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Our writers invite you along on their journeys through Lent. Follow the play-by-play of their personal spiritual practices and share your own.

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March 31st, 2014

JILL – DAY 27 : Finding Joy When You Least Expect It

Lenten Gratitude: 5x40

 
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So, this past week was nuts. I’m in the process of a pretty significant and incredibly exciting job transition. So, I’ve been traveling, meeting tons of great new people and pondering new opportunities. When you’re thrown into wonderful new things, finding gratitude is easy. But, it’s even cooler to stumble upon amazing things when you least expect it.

At the end of my long work trip, I had to take a plane back to NYC. I’m not a huge fan of the act of traveling. Mind you, I LOVE travel — discovering new cultures, meeting wonderful people, and seeing things that I’ve read about in books or seen in movies. But, I’ve never loved sitting on a plane for infinitely many hours because, inevitably, I get stuck next to less than desirable situations. And, tho I’ve been called a champion plane sleeper (once I slept about 8 hours on a trip back to New York from Cairo)…I get grumpy when I wake as I usually have to deal with all sorts of overall plane dysfunction a la uncomfortable seats, inconsiderate people and more. Other gripes: You pay for every minor little thing, the bathrooms are gross, the planes are old and the seats are uncomfortable, etc. I could truly go on, but, I think you get the idea. None of this has preempted me from travel, however — what I see when the plane doors open has always trumped the annoyance of the ride to get there.

So, as I was waiting at the gate for my flight … which was delayed, of course … I happened to start talking to a really nice guy who happened to be a law professor at NYU. We bonded over the fact that this flight would be great because the WiFi and the electric outlets would enable us to keep working as we flew — thank goodness for that! After a while, the announcer at the gate told us all that our plane had arrived … and that we’d be able to board a brand new plane. However, once we got on the plane, we were told the WiFi wasn’t working. Also, my power outlet didn’t work. Lovely. Great new plane! Not.

So, I closed my laptop. And, in typical fashion, I passed out within mins of take off. Upon waking in the midst of the flight, I was met to a serenity that I didn’t expect on a plane flight. As I looked around, I was met with happy people all around me — watching movies, taking comfortable naps, or enjoying a cocktail with their travel companions. Because of the inconvenience of no WiFi, electric outlets and the delays, we were all comp-ed a free movie. Even my new professor friend had a smile on his face as he watched the movie About Time on his TV screen in front of him. This brief inconvenience for us all seemingly gave everyone a bit of a nice reprieve from their lives on the ground. The stress that usually lingers in the air was replaced by light conversation and smiles all around. There was a peacefulness in the air that I wasn’t accustomed to. This peace made me smile, take a deep breath and enabled me for a hot minute (actually, for the remaining 2 hrs of the flight) to stop and enjoy the moment — to relish this ‘hall pass’ of sorts from the crazy of my current life. When you’re in the air and disconnected from the ground, there’s not really much you can do.  So, I took the opportunity to enjoy a moment to myself. This situation also reminded me that not only is stress contagious, but happiness is, as well. And, I was happy to be caught by the latter.

 
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The Author : Jill Olickan
A proud Texas native, Jill is a marketing director living in New York City. When you can’t find her working, traveling to fabulous places, singing or running in Central Park, you’ll find her spending time with friends and at events that help her grow in her Catholic faith. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Texas at Austin and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
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