To Read on the Journey

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Seat 12A

I was tired, and ready to settle into my seat and the last chapters of my book when I walked down the isle of the Alaska Airline plane, looking for seat 11B. Another woman had mistaken her seat for mine, so I agreed to take her seat one row back.

I didn't want to talk, to be friendly, to make conversation. I wanted quiet (are you surprised that i like quiet?). And then Bob sat next to me.

We introduced ourselves, quickly bypassing the awkwardness of being strangers.

Bob asked what I was reading. I shared that I was reading A Million Miles In a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. I told Bob that Miller was an author who shared thoughts on Christianity. I came out of the Christian closet, and briefly let Bob know that I love Jesus. I shared a bit about the book, that it is about living a story, living intentionally. Miller says, "that living a life without a story is like reading a book about nothing." I told Bob that I wanted to start living a better story.

I didn't shove Jesus down his throat. I try not to do that anymore. People don't want Jesus shoved down their throats.

Bob shared a bit about his family, his job, a little about his story.

Now that small talk was over I had hoped to settle into my seat, read, close my eyes, but I couldn't. My Spirit was hungry (you can think i'm crazy. i thought it was wonderful and crazy). The Spirit was in my belly . The Spirit was growling, hungry, wanting more from Bob (i could literally feel this happening).

So our conversation continued. I discovered that Bob loves Jesus too. He hadn't shared that yet, he hadn't come out of the Christian closet. I liked that. Bob shared more of his story, he let me read chapters of his life where the pages were filled with disaster.
He had been a pastor, had become addicted to pornography, had been removed from ministry, had almost destroyed his family, his life.

but God. (i think "but God" is the most beautiful sentence by the way. those two words can say everything).

God has rescued, redeemed, restored, and is rewriting (writing again) Bob's life... and Bob is BEAUTIFUL.

I can't recall most of what Bob said, but I remember his face, and the Spirit alive in him. My Spirit was hungry for his Spirit. The Jesus in me had to sit with, meet with, cry with, rejoice with, the Jesus in him.
Because of the story he had lived, and the story he was now living Bob was radiant! His words, face, person, were radiant with humility, compassion, tenderness, grace, glory, love.

As Bob shared I recalled a scripture a friend had shared with me a few days earlier.
"When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, He was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord."
Exodus 34:29

I shared the scripture with Bob. I told him that like Moses, he was not aware that he was RADIANT!

When Bob got off the plane (he was on his way to his father's memorial service), I just sat there in quiet tears, absorbing the place my soul was in.

The woman in my assigned seat got up from her seat, and said, "it looks like you two were meant to sit together," and then she asked for prayer for her 6 month old grandson she was on her way to take to the hospital.

Bob said, "good bye" again, and began to exit the plane.
And I sat there in seat 12A, staring out the window, into the next chapter of my story that waited for me outside.
I sat there not yet, ready to turn the page on this short chapter. "God, I'm going to miss Bob."
And He replied, "it is the Jesus in you that will miss the Jesus in him."

"When I look at you it is as if I am in the presence of Christ... It is the Christ in you who recognizes the Christ in me...Yes, He indeed is in our midst.. and from now on, wherever you go, or I go, all the ground between us will be holy ground."
Henry Nowen


togetherforgood said...

Wow. What a beautiful story.

Thea Nelson said...

Awesome. What a gift!

Simply Sara said...

Your story is beautiful, this page, especially is so so beautiful


Oh, how God loves the story he is writing for your life. He is using your sweet love for people, your humility, your passion, your faith, your obedience, your compassion to also help write pages in other peoples stories too.

Thank you for this sharing this.... I want to live a better story too and am even more inspired to live intentionally after reading this.

You are wonderful, friend.

And now I REALLY wish I could randomly run into you on a bus/train/plane/boat :)

Sandy said...

This inspired me more than I can say.

I believe you probably changed Bob's life...sounds like he truly needed what you shared with him. It's precious that you are so sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

denise said...

Love this post. It amazes me how God works.

Anonymous said...

This story is very inspiring. I am writing a devotional for a bible study I am involved in and was wondering if I could tell the ladies this story. We are studying Luke this year and have been talking about letting your light shine. I think this story would tie into it great. I love the quote "it is the Jesus in you that will miss the Jesus in him"....beautiful!

Anonymous said...

My name is Stacey by the way, for some reason it wouldn't let me post from my google account ID!

Renee said...

Your faith, your heart, the way you let God work through you, Denie, is inspiring. The raw, real way you share your heart and hurts is a gift. Thank you for sharing! I love hearing about God moments like this!