Another airplane episode..
Most planes I fly these days are jammed-packed. Not an inch of wiggle room. Not that I have any plans to wiggle while on a plane, but sometimes you just have to adjust and squirm a bit in that sacred space, to evenly distribute the cellulite...

The flight attendant announces that this is a "light" flight tonight. Then she laughs.
"OK, folks - let's move around a bit. There's only forty-five of us going to Nashville tonight. So, spread out, lots of room - and enjoy the ride."
I'm ecstatic. Lots of room! Over-joyed. Until...

A very nice, (I'm assuming). tall and skinny gentleman in shorts and a Baltimore Ravens tee-shirt makes his way to my row. I'm sitting on the window seat of this Southwest 737 which is the norm for me on return flights. I can lean my head on the window-wall, slobber and pass out.
He plops his backpack onto the middle seat right next to me, while throwing something in the overhead bin. Then he grabs his backpack, jostles his body and flops into the seat right next to me. No one in front of me, no one in back of me and no one on the aisle seat! This man chooses THIS seat. I mean, c'mon!

I look at him and say, "Um, you don't really have to sit in this middle seat, sir - there's tons of seats all around."
He pauses, looks around.
"Oh, I know, but I find that I do much better flying when I'm in a middle seat, sitting next to someone", he says matter-of-factly. Then he pushes his backpack underneath the seat in front of him. He's there to stay.
Dumbfounded, I stutter a bit, in the craziness.
"Really? How come I'm your chosen one when you have a hundred middle seats all around you?"
He takes a breath and says, (get ready)
"Oh, you look like a calm person, plus you look like my sister."

Oh great. I'm his Sister-calm.

So, I do what I normally do on a home-bound flight - snore. I miss the free beverage and peanuts. I don't even remember the take off. Upon waking though, I notice my tray table is down, a cup of ice water somehow appears on it along with two mini-bags of peanuts.
I shuffle around in my seat when the gentleman next to me says,
"I took the liberty to get you some water and peanuts. I hope that was OK."
I thanked him and took a sip.
"You looked really tired and I didn't want you to miss getting some water. Water really helps when you fly. You must fly a lot", he says.
"Yeah, you got that right. I appreciate your kindness. Thank you."
Then he says, "Thanks for letting me sit next to you. It helped. I'm just not a great flier. Hearing you sleep was actually a good thing for me. I've got a hell of a week ahead of me."

The sleeping Sister-calm. I did nothing. I said nothing. In fact, I was kind of rude. especially when I realized he'd be my initial space-invader. But then I was aware of some things I hadn't really thought about:
  • Sometimes there's no need to say a thing if Jesus truly lives inside you
  • Just be; and don't be offended at every little thing
  • Be aware of your body language and how it can either repel or invite
  • Thank God every day for His grace towards you - even when you're not so nice
  • Everyone has a story; And it rarely has anything to do with you
The singing/speaking/ministering part of my life has no real validity unless I walk in grace, love and care towards those around me. One day I want to teach a course on the "Ethics of Christian Performers". Your success as a singer or speaker has everything to do with your conduct and treatment of those around you, before and after you grace a stage. Period.

Psalm 17:27
The one who knows much says little; an understanding person remains calm.


Michelle said...

I read in a book recently that Jesus' ministry was so successful on Earth because He was "Naturally irresistible". Since we are supposed to be Jesus to the world, it got me thinking, "Am I 'naturally irresistible'"? I don't know if I am. But, I want to be. Perhaps that gentlemen sat next to you because he saw the "naturally irresistible" Jesus in you!

Sue Duffield said...

Boy, are you ever right, Michelle! wow... And here's the real kicker: Think of the people we repel if we're the "unnaturally resistible"? Man, do we ever push people away or what?? Thanks for your comment.. :)

Rachel Quigley said...

Thank you, Sue. I appreciate this reminder.