Daily Prompt: Life Line

Daily Prompt: Life Line

You’re on a long flight, and a palm reader sitting next to you insists she reads your palm. You hesitate, but agree. What does she tell you?

Bible in Hand_18138913

I’m nothing short of bursting at the seams with excitement as I sit and wait as patiently as one with “ants in their pants” could possibly wait. I chatter continuously at my husband, as has always been my custom when I’m filled with sheer elation at the prospect of a joyous event that has finally been set in motion. He responds by playing the latest game that he’s downloaded to his cell phone, never bothering to glance in my direction, but often throwing in the occasional “uh huh” or “me too, dear” as I ramble on, as has become his custom over the years. I don’t allow his lack of interest to tarnish the silver lining surrounding the cloud on which I’m currently riding. I’ve been looking forward to this trip for far too long, and nothing can curb my highly elevated enthusiasm at this point.

It has always been a dream of ours to visit Ireland. So much so, that it’s one of the 3 things that I can now contentedly cross off my miniscule bucket list. I have yet to find buried treasure or learn to drive a stick-shift automobile. I likely never will. I consider this for a moment. Well, 1 out of 3 isn’t terrible, I muse, and I’m about to embark on an adventure of such epic proportions  that the other 2 list options can just fade off into oblivion as far as I’m concerned.

Ah, Ireland. The rolling hills, the beautiful countryside, the sheep in the fields, the castles, the food…oh my goodness, the incredible Irish dishes, yes please! The quaint little pubs with local elderly gentlemen regaling visiting foreign folk with fantastically spun tales of wild Irish youth and love gone by, in thick Gaelic accents. I want to drink in the sweet nectar of all this and more.

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The calling of the first class passengers and those needing special assistance snaps me back to reality from somewhere inside my grand daydream. “I still can’t believe it’s finally happening!” I exclaim to my husband for quite possibly the 50th time today. He just smiles and nods as he continues to busily work his fingers over his phone screen.

The kids are finally grown and gone, and we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary in January. We’ve had our hardships over the years, but we made it through all of them and we deserve this special treat to celebrate how far we’ve come. To celebrate us.  We’ve managed to painstakingly pinch every last penny until Lincoln screams in pain to make this trip possible. I lean over and give my husband a peck on the cheek, before resting my head on his shoulder for a moment. He presses his cheek against the top of my head. I’m proud of us both for finally turning this amazing dream into reality.

I check the time on my phone and fidget in my seat, before deciding to make sure that my passport, I.D., and boarding pass are at the ready for the thousandth time today as I wait for our seat assignments to be called. It’s hard to say if this newfound ritual is compliments of my OCD, or the adrenaline fueled excitement that I’m currently running on. Likely a little bit of both, I surmise.

They finally get around to calling rows 20 through 25. I nudge my husband with my elbow and say, “that’s us.” We proceed to gather up our belongings and head toward the quickly lengthening boarding line.

We finally reach the robotically jovial stewardess at the front of the line, who looks over our boarding passes with an obviously overworked smile. She repeats our seat assignments to us as though we are feeble minded and couldn’t possibly read them on our own, and wishes us a safe and pleasant trip through her gleaming pearly whites.

We make our way down the long gangway, my husband whistling a Christmas tune the entire way as has been his habit for the 20 years that we’ve now been married. It’s July. I stopped bothering to point this fact out to him years ago, and now I just smile and shake my head.

We are greeted by yet another methodically friendly set of flight personnel at the door to the airplane, who welcome us aboard and once again wish us a pleasant journey.

Smiling Flight Attendant

We inch our way toward the back of the aircraft from among the throng of inconsiderate individuals stopping in the middle of the aisle to fight with overhead bins or argue with other passengers and flight attendants over confused seat assignments. I can see frustration growing on my husband’s face as we shuffle along. Finally, we arrive at seats 24 B and C. I feel a little pang of sadness as I realize that neither of them are a window seat. Ah, well, you get what you pay for I suppose, and we did our best to cut traveling expenses as much as possible so that we could fully enjoy our 2 weeks exploring the lush green land for which we are about to embark. I hand my carry on over to my husband, and he makes quick work of shoving it into the overhead compartment, before we settle into our seats. My husband has Closterphobia issues, so I know he’ll want to sit in the aisle seat. He always does in crowded places.  So I grab the middle seat and proceed to try and get as comfortable as possible, not really paying much attention to the person that already occupies the window seat.

I barely get myself situated before I hear a strong, cheerful, feminine voice  from my left announce, “Hi, I’m Anna.” This boisterous greeting is accompanied by a slim fingered hand boasting pale pink polished nails and 3 over-sized silver cocktail rings extended in front of me. I turn slightly in my seat so that I may comfortably surrender my right hand in acceptance of her handshake.  We make eye contact for a moment and I take in Anna’s friendly features while quickly looking her over.

She’s perhaps 50, Caucasian, taller than I by a good 6 inches, and fit. Her long, frizzy, grayish blond waves are held back from her face by a pink, orange, and black oriental flowered silk scarf wrapped around her head and tied at the nape of her neck. She has a wide pink-lipped smile accompanied by a beautiful set of large, dark grey eyes with soft creases gently nipping at the corners. I take note of her clothing; a bright pink tank top under a thin white cotton off-the-shoulder shirt, with small pink, orange, and yellow flowers embroidered along the neckline. This was tucked into a matching, floor length, gypsy-style skirt held securely around her waist by a tied woven hemp belt. She had kicked off her silver-beaded leather sandals that are now shoved partially under the seat in front of her, and I can just barely make out her perfectly pedicured and pale pink polished toes peeking out from under her the hem of her skirt. In truth, she looks somewhat like she just stepped out of the 1970’s.

I smile and introduce myself in return. I then point to my husband next to me, and introduce him as well. He leans over me and offers a hand for her to shake. After the proper introductions have been made, I point to her skirt and tell her, “My daughter would absolutely love your outfit.” She flashes her brilliant smile once again and says, “Your daughter sounds like my kind of girl.”

The next words out of her mouth admittedly catch me off-guard. “You’re very short,” she proclaims. “Excuse me?” I say. While this is an all too true observation, I’ve yet to have a practical stranger make that assessment so boldly.  I wasn’t quite sure I had even heard her right. She laughs off the expression of shock that must be noticeably written on my face. “I mean your life line; I was noticing that it’s quite short and shallow.” She must have then noticed my expression change to concern because she goes on to quickly add, “Oh no, no. It’s nothing to be concerned about. It doesn’t mean that you have a shortened life-span; it simply means that you have a tendency to be controlled by people and situations.” She extends her hand once again, palm side up, and says, “Here, let me see your hand. I’d be happy to give you a full reading…”

She had misread my cause for concern. The words, “Oh, no thank you, I don’t…” barely escape my lips before my husband, who had, to my surprise, been listening to the exchange over his phone follies, interjects with, “We’re Christians. We don’t have anything to do with astrology or palm reading or any of that sort of thing.”

“Ah, okay,” she rather impatiently snaps, and proceeds to pull out and open a thick paperback novel that she had apparently jammed between her thigh and the armrest before we sat down.

That’s it. The conversation has been called to an abrupt halt. I could read a lot into her tone and half smirk though, which said, “I’ve dealt with you closed minded freaks before, and I’m not about to travel this road again.”

I look at my husband. He peeks over my head at Anna leaning her forehead against the window, now quietly and rather quickly engrossed in her novel. He then looks back at me and shrugs as he shakes his head no.

I knew exactly what he was thinking. Though my husband has been known to dive into a religious debate with all of the passion and fervor of an Olympic gold medalist, he wouldn’t be pressing Anna in further conversation. It was clear that she stood firm in her convictions and had closed off any further exchanges at that point. My husband and I both knew that pressing people that were not at all open to hearing what you had to say would just push them further away from wanting anything to do with God and those that serve Him.

I close my eyes and lean my head back. It’s going to be a long flight. I silently say a prayer for our safety during this flight, and for Anna. May she have a life filled with peace and perhaps, someday, be receptive enough to at least listen to a Christian point of view.

Closed minds comes in many different packages, after all.

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Note from the author: This story is completely fictional but has several truthful ideals and undertones. Though I understood that the point of this prompt was to accept the offer a palm reading and write about what my future may hold therein, for certain obvious reasons, I could not.  I chose to take my story in a different direction, and I hope that those of you that are spiritual and non-spiritual alike are still able to enjoy my story and accept it…open mindedly. 

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6 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: Life Line

  1. I think your story pretty much points out the problem of different religious systems in a relatable way. Each side views the others as obviously wrong and obviously unwilling to be “openminded”. Unfortunately open-minded in this case is closer to ‘being willing to throw your beliefs in the toilet to follow someone elses beliefs’.

    I have had friends with a variety of different beliefs, sometimes within the same religion. Baptists, Mormons, Catholics, and Episcopalians all claim to be Christians, yet you could barely get them to agree on anything past their collective misinterpretation of Genesis 1:1 through 1:3. (a little Jewish humor there). The Irish found madly for years over different interpretations in the same belief system and the social oppression that occurred because of it. It makes me sad when 2 people can’t even talk to each other because they have different beliefs.

    The question forefront in my mind is: If there had been a Rabbi in the seat next to you and the Rabbi had made an observation and asked if you wanted to hear an old Jewish story about that thing…what would you have said? Or a Catholic priest? How about a Buddhist? Would you consider any of them (aside from the priest) closed minded because they did not accept Jesus as their personal savior? Would they think the same of you?

    • Well, beliefs are beliefs and I begrudge no one of theirs. I do have my own, those that I am unwilling to change for anyone else, just as the woman in this story had hers. The sadness, and real point of this story comes in when someone closes down and is unwilling to even listen to another’s point of view, or have anything to do with them because of unshared beliefs. Had there been a Rabbi, a Catholic Priest, or a Buddhist in the seat next to me, I most certainly would have listened to their point of view. It likely would have sparked a very interesting, lengthy and entertaining debate, but a debate that I would have welcomed.

      As a Christian, we’re taught that it’s our job to share the gospel and lead people to the Lord. We are supposed to seize opportunities to win souls for Christ. However, another point that I was trying to make is that we also need to be able to discern when someone just isn’t receptive to hearing the gospel. I know a great many Christians that would not have let the conversation with the woman in my story go so easily. They would have badgered that poor woman, preaching at her the entire plane trip until she was an angry mess that was even more unwilling to ever have anything to do with a relationship with God or any of his followers. There’s times when Christians need to realize that they are fighting a losing battle, give it to God, and let it go. Not everyone can be saved.

  2. I think the part I failed to understand is why a palm reader is any different from a Buddhist or whatever else from your point of view. People from some belief systems can be talked to but others get the cold shoulder. Is it the practice of divination that makes her so different? I do appreciate that you decided not to ‘badger’ her, but really you wrote the story so enticingly I am curious about what she might have said. It is likely she would have had some interesting insights if you had continued the conversation.

    Congratulations on your trip! It sounds like a lot of fun.

    • In all honesty, I would not have chosen this particular subject had it not been the daily prompt. That’s when WordPress supplies you with a topic, and you spin your tale around their chosen subject matter. I was in the mood to write, but was drawing a blank for a topic, so I went with it.

      I think the big question, though, is who’s to say my choice is the right one, and hers is wrong?

      Well, even though I believe every word of the bible to be true, and have the utmost faith in God, my stance can be summed up by an awesome theory called Pascal’s Wager. I’m sure you’ve already heard of it, but for those that haven’t, it can be summed up as so:

      “If you believe in God and spend your life in his service, but turn out to be incorrect, you have lost nothing–but if you don’t believe in God, spending your life giving in to every desire that strikes your fancy, and turn out to be incorrect, when you die, you will lose everything.”

      As for the trip, well, the truth is, it’s still a distant dream of both of ours, but hopefully we can make it happen some day. =)

  3. I have actually read a number of the philosophies that medieval Christian scholars debated. I always considered Pascal’s wager to be a cop out personally. What I mean by that is that I think a person should choose to be good and either a) believe in God because they believe God is good and they want to be good, or b) disbelieve in God for whichever reason. I think choices made based on the duress of a threat of eternal damnation are not valid choices.

    To me it is all about free will.

    It probably helps that I nominally agree with the Jews on the non-existence of hell.

  4. Pingback: Flash Fiction / Short Story – “A Ghost Of A Chance” | toofulltowrite (I've started so I'll finish)

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