I am a facilitator in The Journey Training. Recently, I was traveling to Tulsa for a training weekend and I had a layover at the Atlanta airport. I had several hours in between my flights so I got something to eat and then went to the assigned gate with plenty of time to charge my phone and catch up on some email. When I arrived at my gate all of the electric outlets were already being used by other people. I’ll admit I was a little frustrated. I looked around and noticed a fairly empty area a few gates away, so I went down there and sat in a seat near the check-in desk. I plugged in and started to go through my email. Everything was back on plan.
About 5 minutes later, a lady came to the gate area and sat directly across from me on the other side the check-in desk. I could tell that she was very distraught. She was talking with someone on her phone, she was bent over and rocking back and forth in the seat, and she was crying. I had no idea what was wrong, but it must have been bad.
Immediately, a soft voice in my head said “Go to her.” I answered that voice with “Do what? I don’t think so, I’m busy.” A few minutes go by and that voice says again “Go to her.” Once again, I declined and added “Someone else will help her.” This process repeated itself in my head several times over the next 15 minutes or so until I finally said to the insistent voice “Ok, Ok – I’ll go!” Then I started trying to figure out what to say and how I was going to help her. I remembered that I had a travel pack of Kleenex in my briefcase. I got the Kleenex out and wouldn’t you know it, that’s when she stopped talking on her phone. I thought I was just going to be able to walk over, offer her the Kleenex, and walk away. I would have done what the voice asked me to do and that would be that.
I had already made eye contact with her though and now I was committed. There was no easy way out. I got up, grabbed my stuff, walked over and said “I’m not sure what you’re going through, I hope these will help a little.” She reached up and grabbed hold of the Kleenex but didn’t pull them from my hand. She just looked at me. I sat down and asked her what had happened. It took her a minute and then she said “My ex-husband committed suicide 3 hours ago, he shot himself.” I was shocked by her statement, but then things just slowed down and I knew why I was there and what I was supposed to do.
For the next 40 minutes we sat and talked. She told me about how angry she was at him, about how she should have seen the warning signs, about how it was her fault. And yes we cried together too – in front of all kinds of people. But before she boarded her flight, I helped her understand that it wasn’t her fault and I got her to tell me all the good things about him. Slowly, the weariness of guilt, grief, and anger began to fade and her face began to change when she told me how he would play with their young grandson on the floor. We talked about how she was going to go through a lot of ups and downs in the days and weeks to come. I encouraged her to remember the good things about him during those down times. Then it was time for her to board her flight. She thanked me for spending time with her, we said our goodbyes, and we went our separate ways.
I’ve thought about that day often since then. Looking back, I realize now that God orchestrated my steps. He intentionally positioned me at that gate, in that seat, directly across from another empty seat, for a specific purpose. I almost chose to ignore Him, several times in fact. Why? Because I was afraid. What was I so afraid of? Was it that she might reject my offer to help? Honestly, I think I was most afraid of being embarrassed in front of other people – if she would have made a scene and yelled something like “Just leave me alone, it’s none of your business!” I was afraid of being humiliated in public.
I’m so glad that I finally listened to the soft voice and didn’t let that fear stop me! She may never remember my name or all the details of our conversation, but I’m certain she will never forget how she felt when someone cared enough to just offer her a tissue and sit and talk with her. I hope I was as big a blessing to her as she was to me. Yes that’s what I said. She was a huge blessing to me too. She helped me remember what courage is that day, to take action even when it feels uncomfortable. God used both of us!
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people … Galatians 6:10 NIV
We are all presented with opportunities every single day to make a difference in the life of another person and receive a blessing for ourselves in return. We most often hear that soft voice, God’s voice, and choose to ignore it. We often tell ourselves “It’s none of my business, don’t get involved, they don’t need any help.” We just sit there or walk on by because we’re afraid of something.
Whenever we are doing something that is not in our best interest or in the best interest of others, we are choosing to let fear control us.
We need to realize that these opportunities are not accidents or coincidences. We need to make the choice to slow our lives down a bit so we can truly see what is going on around us, to listen to that soft voice that urges us to act, and set aside our personal fears and take action.
Let’s make it our business to have courage – to reach out to other people – to get involved – to do good in this world!
Do you often deny or ignore that soft voice? Do you let fear keep you from taking action? Come join us in The Journey Training. We’ll help you find out why and how to change it. I hope we see you soon!