I hurriedly boarded my flight from Raleigh to San Diego by way of a connection through Houston. There were only middle seats available. I chose to sit between an older gentleman wearing headphones and a beautiful, classy, yet earthy looking woman, probably in her sixties. Let’s call her Mia. Mia from Pasadena.
I had a couple of extra free beverage coupons so I invited my seat companions to have a drink on me. He passed, she ordered a white wine. I went for a double whiskey with ginger ale. I’m a nervous flyer. The flying isn’t so much the problem as the claustrophobia.
The flight attendant delivered our drinks. No sooner than I had my drink poured, Mia asked why I was headed to San Diego. I was so calmed by her relaxed, earth mama demeanor that I just blurted out, “I’m attending a workshop on Evolutionary Astrology.” Now usually, I’m the kind of gal to hold my cards close to my chest, so this was a pretty ballsy move on my part. Then she hit me with, “Oh, you know the Lord doesn’t like that, you’re not one of those Liberals are you?” along with a look of disapproval and disappointment to boot.
It’s a 4 hour flight from Raleigh to Houston. Stunned by the fact that these words had just come out of her lovely face, I realized I had 2 choices, put my earbuds in and thereby passively telling Mia that her and her Lord could go to hell or I could REPRESENT. I took a long pull from my beverage and chose the latter.
I smiled and spoke inquisitively, “No, Mia, I had no idea that the Lord had any problem with the study of our relationship to the cosmos.” To which she replied, “It’s in the Bible, you DO read the Bible?” “I have indeed read the Bible, but it’s been a while.” I asked her to tell me more. I refrained from reminding her that the 3 wise men, the only other humans besides Mary and Joseph present at the birth of her blessed baby Jesus, were astrologers. I indulged her as she lovingly scolded me for my ignorant heresy while also conveying to me her heart break at the thought that I will spend eternity in hell if I were to go ahead with my plans to attend my workshop.
Since she had not succeeded in convincing me to abandon my plans, she moved onto my politics. “We NEED Donald Trump to remain the President of the United States, that’s in the Bible, too.” I tried to hold back the giggle but, a little one escaped, “Now Mia, I know it’s been a while since I read the Bible but, I surely don’t remember any mention of Donald Trump.” Completely serious and without respite she replied “Not his name honey, he’s the only thing standing between us and one world government. It’s the mark of the beast, the end of the world.”
This conversation went on for the entire 4 hour flight. At its best, Christianity gives people who are drawn to it a dogmatic structure by which to “love thy neighbor” and be a better human. Fundamentalism is toxic in any form. When I voted in the election preceding this flight in November 2019, I wrote in Bernie Sanders. As far as Donald Trump goes, he’s literally a bag of scum, personified. These are just my opinions and they’re neither right nor wrong, just like Mia’s. My hope was that if I spent those 4 hours genuinely listening to what she had to say, that we would both walk away from the experience, wiser.
While I didn’t agree with most anything she said or vice versa, we had a conversation. When we left the plane in Houston, we hugged. She told me she loved me. I told her I loved her, too.