|O'Hare International Airport|
One sultry August afternoon in 2002, my travel companion and I were annoyed passengers stuck at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. We were awaiting our delayed connecting flight back home from a vacation in New Orleans. While there were no pyrotechnics, gunshots, microphones or cameras associated with it, nor a naked man streaking up and down the aisles as I had witnessed at New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport years before, this layover was different than any in my experience. In fact, then as now, it is a completely unique event in any setting in my life, and is one of my most indelible memories.
Among the sizeable group of my fellow irritated passengers, I sat with book in hand and tried to pass the time by losing myself in the story, normally a reliable escape for me under almost any circumstance. But there was something strange in the air that distracted me, a weird feeling, a sort of prickly awareness not unlike the sense that sweeps across my consciousness and skin when someone is staring at me. I looked up through my eyelashes and in the section across the aisle from ours, one for a different flight, a man and an adolescent girl sat, and indeed, both of them were looking at me intently. I recognized them instantly. I couldn’t have stated how, or why, or under what circumstances I knew them, nor did I know their names, but know them, I certainly did so. I noticed that not only were those two individuals staring at me, but all of the many people milling around or sitting near them also gazed at me relentlessly, with total recognition of me in their eyes. And as with the man and girl, I knew all of them in return—they were as familiar to me as members of my own family.
If I were Oprah Winfrey or Angelina Jolie, my outsized fame would account for the O’Hare crowd’s recognition of me, but I am “private citizen Linda Lee Greene,” even less known then than I am now, for I was yet to join the throng of Internet users. It was a decade down the road before I began to develop a serious social media presence, on the occasion of publishing my second book. However, even if I had been a celebrity, what is the explanation of my recognition of them?
Perplexed by then, I revisited every possible setting in my mind in which I might have met the O’Hare crowd before then. I thought perhaps they were a delegation of some sort, and since there were a few other children among them, maybe they were a church or sports group I had encountered somewhere in New Orleans, or in my home city of Columbus, Ohio. But their incoming flight was not New Orleans or Columbus, and the outgoing flight was to a city to which I had never visited. To this day, I have been unable to identify any prior situation in which I came in contact with those people.
One of the other strange things about the incident is that there were no discernible responses on the faces or in the bodies of any of them once eye contact was accomplished among us. Not one of them smiled or nodded or made any physical gesture whatsoever in acknowledgement of me, not even a twitch of an eyelid, or a tiny flick of a finger. They merely held my eyes steadily, and I swear to goodness that I began to think they were communicating a message to me, telepathically, but not of a soothsaying nature. There seemed to be no warning of impending misfortune or fortune. It didn’t cause me to feel uncomfortable or creepy—it simply felt like a gentle affirmation of kinship with me. As a matter of fact, the exchange settled me somehow—my spirit relaxed, my irritation over the delay lost its edge, and I felt friendlier toward my companion, a royal pain in the rump during our trip together.
Back in my college days, I wrote a paper about reincarnation, and I recall that one of its tenets is that we travel through time with a pack of spiritual soulmates appearing in dissimilar guises at different times. For instance, my mother in my current life might have been my brother or sister or husband in lives past. Both major and minor characters appear in the sequential acts of our spiritual journeys, like the headliners and bit players of a Broadway show. Both types are essential to the full performance and disclosure of the story, a conjoined cast of pliable energy stores materializing when needed and providing continuity through which to work out ones spiritual lessons over time.
In literature as well as in the historical, scientific, and religious records, accounts of past-life experiences abound. Across the board, or nearly so, researchers discount them as so much smoke and mirrors, labeling them as fantasies, delusions, playacting, or a type of confabulation, a fancy word for lying without knowing one is lying. Within their quiver of rationales, even alcoholism can trigger false past-life memories.
Whether or not reincarnation will ever be observational, and as a result accepted as chapters in the script of life, isn’t about to be settled any time soon, if ever, as far as I can see. But there was something about the chemistry of my O’Hare Airport encounter that has kept it vibrant in my memory. It has remained a curiosity to me. It seems to refuse to allow me any sense of closure pertaining to it. I admit that I can’t help but wonder if those people are members of my spiritual family. And when I do fess up to that possibility rattling around inside me, it feels right. It rests flawlessly in my spirit. It doesn’t rest quite as well in my brain, however.
In any event, reincarnation as a subject is titillating fodder for writers, me among them, as is the case in CRADLE OF THE SERPENT, my latest novel. The following is a synopsis of the story:
Fearful that her husband Jacob is embroiled in an extramarital affair, archaeologist Lily Light turns to psychotherapy, astounding consultations in which Lily often takes on the persona of a young maiden named White Flower, a member of the clan of long-ago American Indian builders of Ohio’s Great Serpent Mound.
When a gunman’s bullets leave Jacob permanently paralyzed from his shoulders down and a woman identified as Jacob’s mistress dead, Lily’s world is shattered. Through the example of her own life a thousand or more years before, White Flower reveals to Lily the unexpected path to her salvation.
Given 5 Stars by Readers’ Favorite, CRADLE OF THE SERPENT brims with “enthralling” journeys into the human psyche, romantic love, archaeology, American Indian history, spinal cord injury, its consequences, and its contemporary treatments, as well as “amazing” sequences of past-life regression, and unimaginable twists and turns in a long-term marriage. It is available in paperback and eBook at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple, Google, BooksaMillion, and other booksellers.- Linda Lee Greene
Best-selling author, award-winning artist, blogger, and interior designer Linda Lee Greene is on social media at the following:
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