“This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.” II Corinthians 9:10-11 (The Message)
Last time we were together I spoke about how God was in the adventure my aunt and I traveled. Today I want to talk about the different blessings He gave both to us and to those around us.
After confirming details for the 10:30 p.m. flight, we needed to sit down for about ten minutes to call our families, switch the car rental arrangements, etc. There was a man sitting next to two empty seats, one of which his luggage was leaning against.
“Excuse me, may we borrow this seat for a few minutes? We just need to make a few phone calls.”
“Sure, I can move those.”
“That line has got to be the length of five football fields, doesn’t it? Kind of crazy.”
“This is my first time flying…ever. It’s been a long day.”
“I’m so sorry – when did your day start?”
“I started at 5:00 a.m. in Las Vegas, then they rerouted that plane to Colorado Springs with a three hour layover, and finally back here to Denver where I missed my connecting flight by just minutes. I’m waiting for my sister to tell me what our new plan is.” After a brief pause he finished sadly, “I just want to get to Arizona to see my brother who has Stage IV cancer.”
The words that flowed from my mouth didn’t come from me but from God who lives within me. “Can I pray for you?”
With only a slight hesitation, he nodded in agreement and after I asked his name, put my hand on his arm and offered up a heartfelt prayer to our Father, asking for protection, safety, and a chance for him to get to his brother quickly as well as asking God to continue to introduce Himself to my new friend and his family, if they didn’t already know Him personally themselves. I didn’t know what to say next, so I got busy answering texts and talking to my family on the phone. Approximately ten minutes later, he quietly left without my having a chance to say goodbye. I regretted not interrupting my conversation to make sure he knew I would still be praying. God hasn’t let me forget that man and his family since.
Another blessing that occurred happened in of all places the bathroom. I decided to stop one more time before boarding the plane and saw a woman in there with a baby nestled in a carrier across her chest, carrying a backpack while pushing a stroller which held her carryon suitcase. She was standing in the middle of the bathroom, looking for a stall that was large enough to hold all her belongings, but there simply weren’t any.
Sometimes I open my mouth and the oddest things come out. “I know you don’t know me, and I wouldn’t trust me either, but I’m happy to watch your stuff for you while you go to the bathroom if you’d like. I really am trustworthy and won’t take your stuff…but it’s your choice.”
She stared at me for a few minutes and finally decided she didn’t have many options. Then, to help relieve her mind at 10 p.m. at night, I yelled through the stall that I would put my feet right in front of her door (like I make my kids do) so she would see that I wasn’t going anywhere. Such a little thing, but I felt like God allowed me and my aunt to be there that night to help bless two complete strangers whom I will probably never see again.
The moral of this post is: Sometimes the blessings God gives us look “perfect.” Beautiful weather, all-expenses paid trips with lots of laughter and love. Other blessings that we receive are a result of imperfect situations. I felt loved by my family: My aunt who refused to leave me stranded in an airport even knowing it would cost her more money, a sister and brother-in-law who dropped everything to book a hotel in a safe neighborhood so that two weary travelers would have somewhere to sleep for a few hours, parents who chose to pay my expenses so that I could spend a few days being pampered while watching my dad receive an award, a family at home who prayed for our safety as well as spoiled me when I finally got home later that week, and a Father who gently reminded me it’s not all about me. He blesses us so that I can look up and pass the blessings on to others. That can look like a prayer in the middle of a noisy airport or toes “dancing” underneath a bathroom stall to reassure a weary mother that her stroller and clothes are safely guarded by another very tired traveler who happens to be a child of God.
Perfect or imperfect – I’m so glad that God saturated me and my aunt in His peace during our adventure. We now have something special shared between the two of us to laugh and reminisce about for years to come. Come back one more time as I share one last lesson I learned from this exciting adventure.
© Cheri Swalwell 2015