Conversations with Strangers

View of the Alps from a plane

I once flew to Vienna via Iceland—not my ‘normal’ route. It wasn’t a normal trip, either. After we took off from Reykjavik, I was seated next to a nice local man. He was probably in his mid- to late-30s.  He was very chatty, which in my experience was unusual on European flights.  We got into a conversation and it got deep pretty quickly. Suddenly he was telling me about how his father was jailed for murder while he was in high school and the impact that had made on his life.  There wasn’t even a hint of self-pity in his voice as he straightforwardly shared his story with me.  I must have told him something personal too (I mean, how could I not, after that admission) because I’ll never forget what he said afterward:   ‘Oh, the stones we carry in our hearts.’ And then he sighed and was quiet for a long time.

I can’t remember our full conversation, but his phrasing and his tone struck me as so brave and so beautiful (even if English were his first language, which it wasn’t.)  Yes, the stones we carry in our hearts can feel so heavy, but I would add that they can become lighter with time if we let them.

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