Craig and I both seem to have this knack, you might call it…Whenever one of us goes somewhere – Wal-Mart, commuter rail, the hardware store, an airplane…. it could be anywhere – both of us are bound to run into a stranger and end up having an incredibly meaningful conversation.
Earlier this summer, I was flying standby and ‘made it’ on a flight out of Newark into Detroit. There were plenty of open seats on this plane, but it just so happened that I was seated in an aisle seat next to another standby passenger. At first, I was a little irritated. I mean, I was hoping that I would be able to nab two seats to myself and take a little snooze…but that wasn’t going to happen.
I sat down next to a woman named Beverly (a grandmother with sparkling eyes and a warm smile) and instantly, I knew I wasn’t going to take a nap, read a book, work on any projects, or listen to music. Beverly and I, within seconds, were deep in a heart to heart about Jesus and infertility. We took a selfie together, exchanged phone numbers and Beverly added Craig and I to her church’s prayer list. Craig was able to meet me (us) at the gate, and by the time Ms. Beverly gave me (and Craig) a hug, I was in tears. She was such a beautiful soul, and her words were so comforting to me. In fact, they were just the words I needed in that moment. And when I turned around to watch her walk away, she was gone.
I recall my mother and younger brother driving back from summer camp in North Carolina to our grandparents’ home in Georgia (or was it the other way around?). It was a holiday weekend and the roads were packed. My brother was young at the time – maybe 2nd grade – and it was just the two of them. My mother hit something in the road and it became lodged under the car. They couldn’t really continue forward, and obviously, couldn’t back up, so she pulled over to the side of the road and prayed. This is prior to the days of cell phones, and she couldn’t pull the piece of metal from underneath the car…and my brother was much too young to help…I can only imagine. I would have been a BALL of nerves. Out of nowhere, a white van pulled over. A man, dressed all in white, got out of the vehicle, and without saying a word, walked over and pulled the metal piece out from under my mother’s car. Then he walked back to his vehicle, didn’t say a word, and drove away. It was exactly what my mother needed in that instance…But before she could thank him, he was gone.
We are house-sitting for my parents this week, and so I have been taking the train into the city for work every morning. Yesterday, I boarded the train and sat down to realize that not only had I left my book behind, I had also neglected to bring my earbuds along for the ride. Ugh. Luckily, I used Kindle on my phone to read some of the Beth Moore book I mentioned yesterday, “Jesus, The One and Only“, but this morning I made sure that I grabbed the book I am reading about hiking the Appalachian Trail (it is SO on my bucket list!!!) and my headphones too!
I boarded the train, chose a seat on the inside, next to a window, so I wouldn’t have people stepping over me, and delved into my book. Aaaah. I wish I could ride the train everyday to work. I love a little ‘me’ time in the morning.
But wouldn’t you know it…at the very first stop, a man came and sat down next to me. He was dirty. His nails desperately needed to be cut. His clothing was tattered and torn. He was missing all of his top front teeth. And he turned toward me right away and said, ‘Good Morning!’. I inwardly groaned. All I wanted this morning was to read my book. I didn’t want to talk. But I looked up at him and there was something about this man’s eyes. They were unbelievably kind. He asked how I was and started to talk about how his father always said that getting up early in the morning made a real difference in how your day went, and talked about pollution and how it has caused sickness in our world. And then he was talking about how God is just so good. He always provides. He takes care of his people. He said that God places people in certain situations for a reason and for a task because He sees a miles down the road and we can’t see what’s right in front of us.
He asked me, “What does a bird do first in the morning?” I smiled. He replied, “He whistles. He sings to God and thanks Him.” He said that should should tell you something. Nature knows. And he told me Good Morning is a powerful phrase. It can change the world and we don’t even realize it…Then he got up to let a lady sit down in his seat, and he told me it was really nice to talk to me and to have a good day.
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2 ESV