"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."
—Muriel Rukeyser

Finding a New Dream ... Excerpt from Rina Tham's Lucky Number Nine

I didn't get the job with the airline ...

I glided from the seat, which was directly across the table from my lost destiny, out the double doors, and into the sun. I was momentarily blinded by its brightness. A strong scent awakened my senses and refocused my vision. I opened my eyes. There, all around me were an abundance of flowers, birds of paradise: Strelitzia. They were thick along edge of the building, framing both it and the pathway up to the double doors. I hadn’t noticed them on my way in. Odd. They’re my favorite flower. They are so unique, and they smell like the color purple, rich and dense. My pain was gone. Not the physical ache in my left arm. It would be years before that discomfort—a twisting feeling like someone was wringing it out like a wet towel—would fade. The pain that had caged my heart…was gone. Seven years. It took seven years to let go of my dream. You see I didn’t have a backup dream. Being a flight attendant was my destiny, and there wasn’t a dream to put in its place. It’s understandable not to let go.

Part of me thought that I had been strong and gone down fighting. I held onto the vision that I believed to be my future, even after I knew it was gone. “Don’t cheat. Don’t steal. Stand tall. Keep your dignity….” My mother’s voice was always there, the voice in my head, guiding me.
Had I? Kept my dignity? Can dignity live alongside delusion? After seven years, I realized; no, it cannot.

I still didn’t have a backup plan. I confessed my truth: I had clarity, but I was jumping without a net just like when I bungeed off a small platform into the Victoria’s Falls. The free falling was nuts. It felt like suicide. As soon as I hit the water and plunged back up, breathing was so laborious that I thought I was going to die, which caused me to instinctually scream at the top of my lungs. I continued to bounce, spin, and swing under the bridge until I literally ran out of screams. Looking back, letting go of my destiny and grabbing onto faith for the first time felt most synonymous with the bungee jumping into Victoria Falls.

“Okay. I’m ready.” I whispered to myself, and to the sun, and to the beauty around me. “Maybe the easy route is not in my cards. I trust you. I know you.”

My new dream must be to work hard, just work hard. And see where that takes me. Maybe the easy route is not flying on top of the world and serving beverages with a smile. Maybe it’s right here in my backyard. Maybe it’s somewhere else. But one thing was for sure; I’ll never know unless I let go. I placed one, final request upon my soul: May Thy will and love act upon me.

My eyes closed dry and easy that night. And I let go.

Excerpt from Lucky Number 9

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