Friday, November 05, 2010

Two Women on a Plane

Fridays with Susan...

When I first saw her, she was standing in one of the airport shops at Heathrow.  She was obviously part of a religious order.  Sturdy black shoes poked out from under an ankle length grey/blue skirt.  Her head was covered with a fringed shawl and she wore a large cross around her neck.  I immediately felt sorry for her, tied up in all that "religion".  I wondered if she could know Jesus at all...  I wasn't three steps past her before I realized how silly was that initial response and my judgmental attitude.  I repented right then and there and hoped, naively, that I would have some kind of a second chance.

I saw her again when we boarded the plane.  Our seats were in the very back and hers in the very front.  I had to walk right by her, passing next to her aisle seat.  I was too shy to say anything as I shuffled past, pulling my carry-on along with me.  Others queing up behind me meant I had to keep moving down the aisle.  I barely had time to catch her eye, but that was all I needed.  Her face, in that fleeting moment when our eyes locked, smiled back at me with the warmth and love that was unmistakably the evidence of a heart that knows Jesus.  I had wondered if she could possibly belong to Him and there he was smiling back at me through her eyes.  Not a word passed between us, just a look and a smile, nothing more. But the blessing of that encounter rested on me and I am feeling the warmth of His love through her eys even now.

A few steps down the aisle and our progress was stalled by a woman who was trying in vain to get her bag to fit into the overhead rack.  She was pulling and cramming and jerking the poor bag around to no avail.  A woman across the aisle tried to be helpful.

"The crew will help you with that..." she offered.

The woman snapped around and her words came out in an angry hiss.  "These are OUR seats and OUR stuff is supposed to fit HERE."  She was clearly offended that someone else had put their bags in "her" space.  She was peppering her vitriolic commentary with one expletive after another.  She went back to cramming and banging and pushing things around.  Suddenly the bag was clear and she SLAMMED the lid down with a disturbing Bang!, accompanied by a loud "Hrmphhh".  She threw herself into her seat and folded her arms across her chest, making a spectacle of herself to all those around her.  It was hard not to laugh.  I was so thankful that I was able to keep moving down the aisle and that our seats on the long flight were nowhere near hers.

Two encounters with two women on one airplane. It made me think, really think.  What was it Francis of Assissi said....?

Preach the gospel at all times.  If necessary use words.

Lord Jesus, give me grace to preach the gospel today. Just like that first woman.  And if necessary, give me the words.

10 comments:

Belinda said...

I don't think it's my imagination. What the Spirit seems to be saying to us is to "be Jesus" to those around us, in every interaction and conversation. People see more than they hear. I pray with all of my heart, that today they see Jesus.

Thank you so much Susan. It is SO good to have you here on Friday again. Welcome back!!

Brenda said...

I'm SO glad both of you are back safe and sound.....and loving what He's saying to you and how you're responding. So proud of both of you!

Julie said...

Glad you and you sat of suit cases made it back, I am sure you will have lots to share in the weeks and months to come with us and I look forward to reading about it.

Theresa said...

About a year ago I sat in a United church feeling all smug and judgemental when all of a sudden I was convicted like NEVER before. How dare I think that someone can only know Jesus in an evangelical setting. I totally get the experience you had seeing that lady. Glad you all made it back safe, kind of an unnerving week to have to fly.

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Marilyn said...

Savoring this post. Speaks volumes. You painted good pictures.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Oh, dear, I'm afraid I'm sometimes more like person two than person one. I like to think of myself as person one but sometimes i get myself twisted in knots and behave like a spoiled brat - not cute in a man my age. I hope this doesn't mean that those around me will simply assume that 'I've the devil in me' rather than 'I'm having a devil of a day'. Cause sometimes, I can be person one. really. no. really.

Belinda said...

Dear Friend Dave,
When I read on your blog about the stresses you endure when traveling with wheels, I wonder how you endure as well as you do. We are all both people rolled into one, and we are all probably far more like person one than two--hoping to be like person two! :) Love from afar! Praying all is well with you.

Betty: Reflections with Coffee said...

mmmmmmm -- lovely!

Angcat said...

A lovely post. Glad you're back too...
I have to ask where Jesus would have sat were he on the plane, with those who already know Him, or perhaps with the lady who was blowing a gasket. He came for the unlovely and I know those two people are wrapped up in me too.