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I had a flight back to Chicago because my older brother was getting married. It was a red eye flight and I happened to be next to an elderly couple who needed help throughout the flight. The gentleman seemed to have a broken arm. He woke me up in the middle of the night, telling me he needed to go to the bathroom. I woke up fuzzy from sleep and stood up to give him some room. I gave him my hand to hold onto since he really struggled get up.

Later, he dropped his phone on the floor and him and his wife were desperately trying to lean down and find it but had no luck. I woke up to turn on my flashlight and got under the seat. When we landed, everyone was rushing off the plane just to be the first ones off. I stayed behind and helped him by holding his hand to the bathroom again. Then, I took their carry ons off the shelf and placed them on the seats. And the woman, the way she looked into my eyes had me convinced I looked upon an Angel. She mouthed, “thank you” as if I did a big deed. I cried when I walked off the plane. They blessed me with such a wholesome and impactful experience. It was in that moment I realized what ACIM meant by it was the same to give as it was to receive.

A few days later, it was my brother’s wedding and I had a bit of a breakdown. It was difficult to watch my parents being so proud that he chose such a normal life and I knew that I could never give them that perception. I did love the life I apparently chose for myself, however it didn’t mean it was easy to witness perceptions like that. However, near the end, it eventually clicked that if my brother was happy, that’s all that mattered. And, happiness looked different for everyone, so I gave myself permission to celebrate with him.

It was also a really big wedding and I just got off the trail so it felt extremely overwhelming. There were plenty of people to talk to, however I wasn’t interested in talking about mascara or frat boys, so I just kept to myself a lot. I had one guy come up and ask, “You miss your backpack, don’t you?” Must have been written all over my face.

Throughout the wedding, I also had so many people coming up and telling me how marriage was a huge mistake. I had people telling me that they would do it differently and would choose a lifestyle like mine. Lots of regret being shared, lots of adultery, lots of confessions. Still, in my heart I felt that marriage didn’t have to be so difficult. It was clear that people were not handing their needs to God, therefore their marriages appeared unfulfilling.

A couple of days after the wedding, my family and I flew to Moab. They planned to spend a week there with their friends and I planned to explore all the trails in the nearby area. We got to eat at a restaurant that overlooked the desert and we even had time to go visit Telluride in Colorado!