Friday, July 5, 2013


Bag? Check!  Checked bag checked? Check!  Back when checking luggage was free, I packed 2 bags.  Now I manage with carry-on only.  This event was back when.

"Now boarding Florence to Charlotte."  My signal to cross the tarmac and settle in on the puddle hopper.  This trip was familiar.  I thought, When we land for my layover, I'll probably nap in Charlotte in my usual rocking chair. I relaxed in the back row of the small plane and nodded to the football-player-sized young man across the aisle. He smiled weakly and nodded back.

Lift off went smoothly.  I thumbed through my Reader's Digest but the turbulence soon made it hard to read.  Those small planes feel every wind current. I was used to that too.  But the young man across the aisle was not. I noticed several things as we bumped along:

  • he gasped audibly with each air pocket
  • his large hands grasped the armrests, white knuckled
  • he'd close his eyes when the plane lurched
  • his tall frame stiffened like a board

He's terrified, I thought while trying not to let him see me observing his fear. He's probably not flown much. . .looks so big and strong. . .but there's a frightened little boy under those muscles.  I wanted to mother him and assure him it was safe.  Turbulence was normal.  But I knew he'd be embarrassed.  

So I silently prayed for him.  The Holy Spirit spoke to me so I obeyed.  I took paper and pen from my purse and wrote:

"The pilot is not the only one controlling this plane.
God is.
You're safe. . .in His hands. 
I'm praying for you"

I handed him my note.  After he read it, his eyes met mine for the first time since we nodded.  This time his smile was broad and genuine.  He relaxed and silently mouthed back Thank you.

We never spoke, don't know each other's names, probably wouldn't recognize each other if we met again.

But we neither one will forget that moment God became relevant.

Every day we meet strangers. They feel pain, fear, hopelessness, abandonment, disappointment.  In a dark world, even a small candle helps light their path.  

Reflect Jesus.  He IS a very present help in trouble.
Now flip side scenario.  Another trip. My good friend was flying and slightly uneasy about it.

Teasing her I reminded her of a verse, taking it out of context, switching to a homonym:

"Well, just remember Jesus said, 'LOW I am with you.' So you're on your own up there til ya land!" 

Don't try that carnal tactic with strangers!

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