The people you meet in airports are so interesting. Everyone has a unique story. A different destination. Sometimes the destination is the same as yours, but the purpose of it might be something so different from yours.
Miami airport – it feels like you are at a big city mall (Armani, VS, Ralph Lauren, etc.) – so crazy. Literally popping! I was in such awe of all the lights and flashy-ness of the the airport that I nearly missed the guy asking me where we were headed to. “The Dominican Republic for a mission trip” I said. He asked where we were from and with a big smile I said, “Mercy Hill Church in Greensboro, NC!” “How neat” nodding his head. You would think that in an airport as busy and crowded as Miami airport, there couldn’t be the realm of possibility of having an awkward silence…well it’s possible. So I then tried to continue having the conversation, seeing that we were headed the same way, and asked him what he was doing in Miami.
Come to find out, he was visiting his family. His aunt – who was his mom’s twin sister – had passed away two months ago and he was just now given the opportunity to spend time with family. Silence again. All I could find myself saying was condolences. He smiled and said it was okay. And just like that, our conversation came to an end and he was gone into the cluster of Miami airport crowd.
This post could go two ways from here. I could go on to describe the rest of the flight into Santo Domingo (which really just consisted of me sleeping most of the flight – y’all sleeping masks are amazing, go buy one) or I could bank on this guy. See, at first, I disregarded this guy shortly after he left. But as the evening went on, I couldn’t ignore the replay of him saying that his aunt passed away and here he was, two months LATER just now getting to see his family. And here we are, a week later from this flight, and I’m still thinking about this encounter.
I come to realize, and have been convicted of this too often, how easily I get caught up in a “me over you” concept. I didn’t ask him if I could pray for him. I mean I didn’t even stop or slow down.
You see, typically when someone asks you “How are you”, we tend to briefly answer with a “good” or “fine”. Rarely do you find yourself going into details, let alone with a stranger. Unless it’s something tough. Something you realize you can’t deal with on your own, or handle on your own. At least that’s been my experience.
For so long, I tried to “do it on my own”. I’m the type of person that hated – and still sometimes hates – asking for help. It made me feel defeated. Weak.
Until I found God. He rescued me. He took my hand and said to me, You don’t have to do this alone. He forgave me for continually going against Him. He accepted my surrender and was willing to still love me, and let me know that accepting His help didn’t mean I was helpless/defeated/weak or whatever I thought of myself as. And I found myself with a strength like never before. And he blessed me with a community that supported me and gave me that love and reassurance of not being alone.
But see, not everyone has that. Not everyone is willing to admit that they are feeling alone. Hopeless. Defeated. Not everyone has a community. And not everyone is willing to surrender completely. So, I still think about this guy. And hope that he has that, a community. Hope that someone is able to speak to his hurting heart. Hope that God may be able to comfort him in this season. And after beating myself up for not having prayed for him in that moment, I stopped beating myself up. And just prayed.
Prayed to my sweet Savior for him. Prayed for his family and his aunt and his mom. And I prayed to God that this concept that I so easily get caught up in of “me over you” would go away. That I may be able to have eyes for the world. That I may have a heart for others. Like Jesus did and does. And I pray that for you, my friend. I pray that we, as a whole, would pay attention to those moments. Pay attention when someone says they are “Ok”, when they’re really not. And I pray that we would sacrifice our time, to be an ear for them and a shoulder. Just like our sweet Jesus gave up and sacrificed His rights and perfect life so that we may have a relationship with God.
Comments and emails are welcomed with open arms! Stay tuned as I share next the impactful week of missions in Santo Domingo. As always, thank you for reading and for the sweet encouragement.