This was going to be an awesome trip! I’d soon see my sweetie in Hong Kong! As I walked down the isle of the plane…30….34….36….thirty 8…no, a quick mental ticket verification 38…, no way. He had to be 400 lbs and yes his seat is right next to mine. He had such a pleasant smile, but 12 hours is all I could think about.
He’s literally in my seat. I mean I feel his flesh touching mine. I don’t even know him and he has an unusual smell. Ok, how can I get out of this? The flight is booked solid. I pride myself on making the best of every situation. You know…the silver lining approach, God getting the glory. But I needed some help on this one….did I mention 12 hours??
Classic extrovert I typically get to know the passengers around me but I wasn’t in the mood. I felt like we were already close enough. He begins with the standard questions of final destination, where’s home and how long was I staying? Then he does the ultimate, he lifts up the arm rest. Yes the one that was a desperate attempt to provide the toothpick barrier between us. Is he serious? How do I get it back down? As my emotions battled between sympathy and anger I continue to focus on “my” armrest. The flight attendant starts beverage service. Here’s my chance. The movement will cause a diversion, thus making this less obvious and awkward. Yes!…I motioned it downward and put it back in place. He asks “did I want it down??” (I’ll save you my thoughts)
I’ve settled with my fate and opened my magazine while simultaneously pulling out the head phones (a clear disengaged stance) to watch the screen intermittently. He’s talking to me??! Doesn’t he see I’m reading and watching TV? I’m not in talking mode?? But my inability to be rude forced me to respond.
And it begins…an unbelievably horrific chronicle of his life. From his race car driving career, (when he was thinner, he added) to his racist father, bitter divorce, McDonald refrigeration repair career, pain meds from his fall from 13 stories, to an arranged bride from the Philippines he was going to pick up. Unbelievable! I dropped in my bait and asked if he was a praying man? He smiled and said yes, that he use to everyday sometimes twice, but that he had a hard time when surrounded by those that did not. I followed with what about church? Do you attend? He explained for a season growing up with his grandmother then a few years back in a series of bible studies prior to prevent his divorce.
I prayed to discern God’s approach. What did the Holy Spirit want to say? Then Bob told me he couldn’t live without a woman. I talked about the importance of a vertical relationship with God first. He seemed to understand and I had his attention. I asked about a healthy church community that he and his new bride could attend. He knew of one and believed it would be a good idea for them to start going together.
I shared on the powerful effectiveness of prayer and biblical examples of God’s love. He agreed and asked me to pray for him, his list of issues and his fiancé. I can’t explain it but it felt like he shrunk.
“You watered today.” That’s what I heard. While deplaning Bob graciously thanked me for my potential prayers and how glad he was I sat next to him. My flesh was inconvenienced as my faith gave way in sacrifice and prayer. Bob’s flesh less a factor as the Lord repositioned him in his seat and His Kingdom.