Sojourning

Reflections Part 2

I want to pause again to share another segment of my Life’s Journey that includes the first job I received before being employed by Delta Airlines.

The desire to travel increased with each passing day of my life and any indication of the idea, was constantly with me. While browsing through a magazine one day, I came across an ad that read,”Be A Stewardess or Look Like One.” I thought, this is my opportunity! The advertisement was from Atlantic Airline School and when I observed it a little closer it really had nothing to do with flying! What was interesting though was that, I could use this as a stepping stone to where I eventually wanted to be.

Atlantic Airline School offered training in Airline Reservations, Vacation Planning, Ticketing and Fare Construction. The training consisted of a six week home study course and after that, graduates were placed in selected cities across the country for in person training. The cost for this program was $800.00.

My father was not to thrilled about giving up that amount of money for something he wasn’t to certain of, but because he usually gave into my passions, I was enrolled right after High School with the condition of, “you’d better get a job after you finish.”

The three cities listed to attend training were Inglewood, California, Kansas City Missouri and Atlanta Georgia. My first thought was, California here I come! Not so fast missy-California was booked solid, so I tried for Kansas City. No openings were available there. The last place I wanted to be was in Georgia. The racial tensions were quite high in Georgia during the 70’s and I was gripped with fear at the thought of being in that state. Nevertheless, I would go anywhere to be in a totally different environment.

My application was submitted and in the year of 1972 I was notified of my acceptance. Placement for training was in Atlanta, Georgia. The very first thing that captured my attention, was the Hyatt Regency Hotel that could be seen from I-75 traveling North. It was referred to as, “the blue glass bubble in the sky.” All of the tall buildings were so amazing because of course I’d NEVER seen anything like them in Belhaven! What’s so hilarious is that, the Hyatt Regency in downtown Atlanta is now obscured by many skyscrapers overwhelmingly many stories high.

My place of abode for an additional six weeks of training was the Georgian Terrace Hotel on Peachtree Street. An allotment of rooms were purchased by Atlantic Airline Schools as dormitories. It too has undergone some massive reconstruction since the 70’s. I think it is referred to as, “The Luxurious Georgian Terrace Hotel.”

The training course was very detailed and challenging, but because I was so eager to learn, I excelled in all areas. I graduated with honors and was hired by one of the most prestigious Travel Agencies in the country, Henderson Travel Service. This company specialized, and still does, in Travel Tours of the African continent and has received many awards for distinguished service. When I arrived on the scene, there was a dire need for an expert in Domestic Travel. Yours truly fit the bill! I was in charge of front office operations and formulated travel arrangements for professors of Atlanta University, i.e. Dr. Benjamin Mays, local politicians such as Mayor Maynard Jackson, Ambassador Andrew Young, Dr. CT Vivian, Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr., Mrs. Coretta Scott King and Mrs. Christine Farris, sister to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. My interaction with these wonderful people is something I will always cherish. As a side note, I was thrilled to have Mayor Jackson as a passenger on flights several times to Washington D.C. during my career at Delta!

There were many others that I had the privilege of meeting as well. Marketing Representatives frequented the office with travel updates and I befriended several of them. One in particular was with Delta and I was always inquiring about working with Delta as a Stewardess, as they were called at that time. He kept urging me to apply. The only problem was I seventeen and I had to wait until I was eighteen years old. That my friends was about eight months away! I applied any way and I was invited for an interview a short time after my birthday.

Guess what happened? They did not hire me! That did not deter me because I know my destiny had been sealed. I contacted the office of another person I’d met who worked directly with hiring. I asked him why would I not be hired with my knowledge of travel and customer service. He put me on hold for about three minutes and returned to inform me that one more could be added to the next class for training.

My training with Delta Airlines began in September of 1974, two years after I first stepped foot on Georgian soil. This was a dream come true! This dream fueled my passion with determination that still views every experience as adding substance and value to the essence of who I am.

A final thought: NEVER LET GO OF YOUR DREAM!!!!!

Sojourning

Reflections

Every experienced traveler must have a time to rest and reflect on how they have progressed along the way. Each encounter is documented as a stepping stone to achieve destiny. So today, I wish to give you some inside information, that inspired me to begin writing this blog in the first place.

I was born in Belhaven, a VERY tiny fishing town in the state of North Carolina. My childhood memories were about a beautiful place where I encountered magnificent splendor at every twist and turn. We lived near an inlet called “Pamlico Sound,” and when night time fell, everything was so still, the ebbing of the tide could be heard everywhere. The grass was green and lush in summertime, and the ever present smell of the ocean was pure and clean. Stars sparkled with such brilliance, that they extinguished the light of even the largest diamond. Frequent rainstorms replenished the earth with with an array of colorful flowers and provided the best vegetables for our family, that my father harvested in our backyard garden.

There was a bridge that connected Belhaven to the other side of the “Pamlico Sound”, and my family very seldom ventured too far from the outskirts of that bridge. However, there was a burning desire within me to know the world beyond that boundary.

One day my father purchased a volume of Shakespeare from a yard sale and placed them conveniently beside the night table in my bedroom. Maybe he sensed the spirit of adventure in me, when I sat out early one Saturday morning, to find the end of the rainbow. Little did he know that would be the beginning of a journey that has never ceased.

My Paternal Grandmother would read the Bible to me every night and it dawned on me that some of the same places mentioned in Shakespeare, were also mentioned in the bible. Immediately, I developed a love for God and marveled at the teachings of Jesus and how much he loved me. Strangely ,this reinforced my inclination to travel the world.

Fast forward to the year of 1974, when my airline career began. Each interaction with people of ALL NATIONALITIES, presented an opportunity for encouragement and sincere love, even if there was a language barrier.

God used my job as a tool (calling), to be a light for HIS love, mercy and grace, all over the world!

My mentor Dr. Myles Munroe said, “Your job is what you are paid to do, your work is what you are called to do.”

THIS BLOG IS A WORK OF GOD THAT COMPARES ALL THE OCCURENCES OF AIR TRAVEL TO WHAT WE CONFRONT IN LIFE.

It is based on principles of the word of God, so look deeply into each posting, even if a scripture is not written. (Principle is defined as a fundamental truth that serves as a foundation for a belief).

It’s been quite a journey from that tiny town, but remember “journey is the essence of destiny.”

Everyone’s journey is different, but we must ALL allow the process of time, for it is divine preparation to fulfil the Master’s plan.

Remain on this journey with me and share some thoughts about your process, together we are sure to make an impact on the world.

Embracing Change

Reroute

I can remember many times during my airline career as a Flight Attendant, being sent to an unintended destination due to severe storms or some type of aircraft mechanical problem.

A ten hour work day would quickly become sixteen hours on duty! Then came the most dreaded assignment relayed to crew members from Flight Crew Scheduling- “You have been rerouted to another city.” Our expectations were shattered, especially if we had plans for enjoying a great escape to a favored metropolitan destination.

For example, my flight crew was prepared to land in a more desirable city, but realizing we had to accept the alternate assignment, led us to seize this opportunity by utilizing some hidden treasures in ourselves that had never been exposed. Some by products that came into view were patience, creativity, gratitude and determination.

We used our tools of annual training to navigate the challenges of those changes that necessitated employing a different operation. Highly effective interpersonal skills were very important to help passengers deal with missed flights, lost baggage, etc. We had the opportunity to apply the knowledge we had accumulated from our experiences throughout our tenure of service.

The entire process of a reroute demanded that we adapted to each stage using a different approach. The adaptation process would consist of downgrading or upgrading to a different aircraft, which in some instances an aircraft no one had ever even set foot in. Additionally, we’d switch airport terminals/gates sporadically, two to three times within a matter of minutes, or just sat on the tarmac with passengers for six hours or more.

I’ve come to understand that in my life’s journey, humans adapt to almost anything, but what became essentially clear, is that everything in life must change – often times for a greater purpose.

Changes are REROUTES in our journey to help us discover and rediscover, our strengths, frailties, and capabilities. This is why we must embrace change and grasp the notion that we are transformed by how we adapt. In most circumstances, our minds must be retrained to center on how each experience qualifies us to be productive at any stage of our lives.

Author, Pastor and motivational speaker John Maxwell says, “Change is inevitable, growth is optional.”

You and I can choose to embrace change and not neglect its true value. If the seasons of our lives do not encounter change, we could not appreciate the blessings in each season as an opportunity to impact the world, with our mission, assigned by God.

Seatbelts

Releasing Potential

Seatbelts restrain us from movement during different phases of flight on board a commercial jet. Once our seatbelts are released, we are free to move about the cabin or exit through the forward door upon landing, after being secured to the jet bridge. We progress forward until we reach the awaiting concourse which leads us to another flight or our intended destination.

If we remain attached to our seats, no progress takes place. We are then parallel to “potential in dormancy.”

Potential is liberated in several ways.

Firstly, RECOGNIZE that we are more than what our reflection in the mirror says.

Secondly, SIT quietly and imagine what you desire to develop within the deepest part of your soul that will make a difference in the world – even if it’s something bigger than yourself. 

Albert Einstein said, “ Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

Thirdly, FOCUS on what causes you to have a heartfelt zeal that is greater than anything else in your day-to-day existence.

ACCEPT that these three simple steps will unfold your true calling. Oftentimes, the world we live in suggests complicated avenues to obtain our purpose – a formal education is one of them. Education does qualify us, but it does not DEFINE the essence of who we are. We must surely avail ourselves to every opportunity for improvement to keep our brain functioning at its best. 

Remember to dig deeper into the heart where potential is hidden for a time and released at the appointed time.