Because I think that maybe if I could wash my brain clean, I could wash away feelings along with memories, but unfortunately that is not how it works. No matter how much I wish it to be so. I can't remove my brain from my skull and I can't remove my heartache from my soul.
Lately I've been living too much in my own head. Digging through thoughts and memories trying to find the right one to push me forward. But honestly it has just be drudging up the past and causing me to look past the people being placed in front of me. I've been knee deep in my own mess, I haven't even looked up to see that God is standing knee deep with me.
Yet then there's the moment… the moment I look up, and I feel Him all around. I feel His sturdy arms grasp me and lift me up out of the muck and into His arms; with just a word, a single phrase, spoken by a person in an airport on a plane.
I have this love-hate relationship with airports. They take me away from the people I love and yet they tend to always bring me back to them. And I love the way you can get to know a single person on an airplane, sharing stories and life, but never sharing names. You can learn a lot about a person on an airplane, about life and hopes and dreams and faith. You just have to be wiling to open your eyes, your mouth, and your ears.
My eyes were shut and my headphones were in. I was thinking, deeply thinking, digging through things in my mind, trying to decide what my next step would be, when he tapped me on the arm. I open my eyes took out a headphone and said "Yeah?" he looked at me confused and said "sorry it was an accident." His brown hair was spiked up in the front, his dark brown eyes looked at me gently, scanning my face. I couldn't decide if I should just turn and look out the window or say something else.
"So you live here or just visiting." he spoke words that would begin a long conversation.
We talked about life and jobs and relationships. It's interesting how easy it is to talk to someone you know you may never see again. The heart kind of beats faster knowing that these personal things, these passionate things being shared with a complete stranger are safe. I'll never see him again and we never asked for each other's names.
He was at least 30, with his salt and pepper hair. He worked in investment and was coming to Iowa on a one day "pain in the ass" business trip, as he put it. He wasn't married, just to his job. He traveled about five, six times a year to look into companies. He talked for a while and I just listened. He was interesting and smart. Most of what he said about investments I couldn't really understand. He talked about life in Philadelphia and such. And it was nice to listen to someone else, beside my own thoughts.
Then he asked about me.
I told him honestly I have no idea what I'm doing with my life. I talked about doubting what I felt I should be doing with what everyone around me believes. I talked to him about nursing and Africa and my deep passion to serve God and help others. How I feel like I just want to do what's right and love on everyone, but recently even that's becoming difficult. That lately it's felt like I'm all alone in the world and I don't know where to turn. That right now I'm just placing one foot in front of the others but most days I just want to stay in bed and hide from the world.
I had nothing to lose, I let words fall onto the arm rest between us, spilling thoughts and ideas to a complete stranger. I had no idea where this trust in this random man had came from. And as the plane began to descend I felt a sense of peace, to have finally gotten so much off my chest and out of my head.
The man looked at me as the turbulence swayed the plane back and forth and smiled. "Can I say something without creeping you out?" he asked laughing.
"Of course." I'd just spill my heart from my chest to this man, I was surprised he wasn't creeped out.
"I think you know exactly what you need to do and where you need to go. Of course I don't know you at all. but we don't necessarily decide the weather, or the way the day is going to go, we only decide how we live within them. You have to decide how to live within the days you've been given."
I kind of smiled as I felt the wheels of the plane touch the ground. "easier said than done."
"Just because circumstance are ugly, doesn't mean there is no beauty in the midst. You just have to move your feet. Because if I can be bold, There is a radiance in you that this world needs."
I looked at him speechless as the people around us began to rise and grab their bags overhead. I couldn't say anything. He got up from his seat in 12E, grabbed is Ralph Lauren jacket and shook my hand, "It was very nice to meet you." and he was gone.
I sat in 12F looking out the window of the plane, watching people's bags be tossed to and fro, until I was the last one there. I grabbed my bag from the overhead compartment replaying the man's words in my head.
How did a complete stranger know exactly what to say to reach in and start a spark in my heart?
When I reach deep down, pushing pass the heartache and climbing walls that have been built up with brick and mortar and crawling through the electric fence to the depths of my heart, I am beginning to see what this man saw. What Ruth saw so many months ago. Radiance. His radiance. That lately I've been pushing my faith and His radiant light down trying to decide where I should go instead of letting Him lead me. That my walls and fences have done a good job at keeping people out, but also keeping my faith bottled up inside of me. And God, using this random stranger has taken bolt cutters to that fence and a sledge hammer to that wall, and I am discovering that through this one moment, a stranger totally unknown to me had been awoken.
And I have to say that He is pushing me to become a better woman than the one I have been.
To be a woman who doesn't shut herself off and hide from the world. but a woman who recklessly loves Jesus, no matter the cost, a woman who will continue to love people even through her broken heart. a woman who chooses others above herself. a woman who travels the world, who lives on mere whimsy and faith. a woman who isn't defined by anyone or anything but Jesus, and His life inside of her.
I don't know where you are these days, what's broken down and what's beautiful in this season of your life. I don't know if this is a season of happiness or one of sadness. But I'm learning that neither last forever. There will, I'm sure be something that invades this current loveliness. That's how life is. It won't always be happy, but it won't always be sad either. If everywhere you look these days, it's wintery desolate, and lonely, believe in the spring. It always comes, even though someday it's nearly impossible to imagine, ground frozen, trees bare and spiky. New life will spring from this same ground. This season will end, and something entirely new will follow it.
God has a plan in all and I hope I never stop discovering new things about Him and experiencing new ways of hearing and seeing Him. Right now I'm still struggling, but I think that a life chasing after Jesus will always be a struggle, because there will always be the enemy raging battles against us.
And right now I feel I am in the hard, beautiful middle of faith. And it's exactly where I'm supposed to be.
HIS and yours,