Jesus on a Plane
I always heard stories about people having Jesus encounters on a plane.
Where someone needed prayer, healing, or getting saved. Must be something about being so close to heaven I guess.
I never thought that yesterday would be that day for me…
Dennis sat near the window, I sat in the midlle and a stranger in the aisle seat of our flight from Houston to Portland, OR.
I was cozied up with my favorite book, “The Go-Giver”, underlining every other sentence, while Dennis was studying programming languages.
While being fully engrosed in my book I couldn’t help but feel the presence of the older woman sitting beside me.
The way she was sitting, eating, drinking her coffee made it seem like she was very….uncomfortable. Uncomfortable in her own skin.
I kept getting this feeling like I should start a conversation with her. I learned this afterwards but apparantley Dennis felt the same exact way and offered her a piece of gum to “break the ice”.
But I’m not a conversation starter, I will litteraly avoid strangers just to not have to be in a conversation with them. I’m a major introvert.
Ordering her coffee in broken English with a Cuban accent, I sighed in relief. I’d probably be doing her a favor by not talking to her.
As I kept on reading while getting more uncomfortable by her awkward presence, I was getting inspired by every page I flipped.
Everybody can be great because anybody can serve- Martin Luther King, Jr.
“That’s a good one”, I thought while underlying the quote.
I couldn’t help but notice the way the woman was sitting now. Slouching and covering her face.
Glancing at her sideways while pretending I’m still reading, I noticed it looked as though she’s crying.
God why me. I looked around to see if I’m the only one that noticed.
I put down my book and looked over again. What if she wants to be alone? If that were me I’d definitely want to be alone.
Trying to reassure myself I tried to keep reading. Maybe it was just an emotional moment? I’ve had that on a plane before.
Now I hear her quietly sobbing. “Jesus really is this happening” were the exact words that ran through my mind.
Rang the words from the book. Then all those stories came flooding in about someone going through a tragedy in public (like getting attacked, robbed, or crying) but nobody does anything about it.
I didn’t want to be one of those fearful people.
But what if she doesn’t understand me? I would look so stupid. What if she gets mad at me for putting more attention on her while she’s clearly trying to hide.
“Sometimes you feel foolish, even look foolish, but you do the thing anyway”
Another convicting quote from the book. Here I was immediatley being thrown into acting on my beliefs even though I desperatley wished I didn’t have to.
At this point I’m sweating and I keep folding the page in my book and putting it down while summoning up the courage to speak.
I chose to do the thing anyway.
Leaning over, I awkwardly tapped her on the shoulder.
She looked over at me and apologetically started wiping her tears.
” Are you alright”? I asked.
“Do you need anything? Do you want someone to talk to”?
She gave a polite smile while nodding her head and stilling wiping her tears.
My son. He’s in Arabia
“Oh… why is he in Arabia?”
” No” She shook her head. He’s going to the Navy. I’m flying here to say goodbye.
Ignoring my stupid listening skills and praying it doesn’t happen again, I continued the conversation.
“Oh! that must be so tough. I’m so sorry to hear that”
She continued to tell me her story. Showed me photos of her son and grandson and soon she started smiling instead of crying. We talked for about half an hour.
People started turning in their seats to look over at us. I was the only one with the reading light on so I was literally in the spotlight. My biggest fear.
But I chose to ignore the curious looks.
After getting to know each other I asked her if she wanted me to pray for her.
She smiled so big and said she’s a christian too and would love prayer.
After praying over her and her son and her family to be filled with peace and courage, she thanked me for listening.
She said she was actually looking for a church in Vancouver and I connected her with one.
After we arrived and were walking to baggage claim, she quickly walked over to Dennis and I before we left.
Gave us both a big hug and kissed me on the cheek.
“Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you for listening”
She said in broken English and a big smile then walked off.
Suddenly I was reminded by another quote from a character in the book
“I can’t remember ever feeling so….so listened to. So heard.” She just wanted him to listen. Just wanted to be heard.
I smiled to myself in amazement.
Because of Jesus in me I was able to feel her pain. And although I was being ridiculously stubborn at first, Jesus’ love for her was stronger.
He was listening.
He wanted her to be heard.
No matter how uncomfortable you feel, how foolish you might look;
Do the thing.