It's Friday after a long week of fighting to stay well and the last-minute to-do's of leaving the country for a while. After a couple of meet-ups at the airport, successfully making the first leg of the flight, and barely making the connection flight, I'm glad to rest on the plane. Based on her conversation with the flight attendant, the girl next to me doesn't seem too keen to speak English, giving us both permission to keep to ourselves. That is, until she sneezes, to which I naturally say "Bless you" and she just as naturally replies "Thank you." This happens 5 times when she announces that she caught a cold on her business trip.
I confess that my immediate thought is, "Great, I'm trying my best to stay well and of all spots on the flight, I got this one?" But almost just as immediately, right as I am contemplating if I have enough coins to purchase an steeply-priced bottle of water, I hear a familiar voice in my heart. It's encouraging me to offer to buy her a tea, and all the while a wave of compassion is washing over me. So I ask, "Would you like me to buy you a tea?" A bit hesitant, she points toward an overhead bin a few seats ahead, saying her wallet is in her bag. I reassure her that I am offering to pay for her, and she slowly agrees. And that changes everything.
As she gratefully sips her tea with lemon, she admits that she can't understand why I would buy her tea for her. Trying to stay sensitive to how the Lord wants to guide our conversation, I say that I am a Christian and believe that God gives freely, so I want to give freely. And besides, I felt compassion for her since she was sick, and I wanted to help her. She smiles, sharing that she is also a Christian; and this opens the door for more conversation as well as an invite to show me around town the next day (which I never would have time for, but was thankful). She also ends up sending me off with a tin of the best chocolates my sister and I have ever tasted and a special drink that I would gift a couple of dear friends who I knew would appreciate it.
|Thankful to have this tin that was once full of chocolates as a tangible reminder to take the opportunities before us |
to show kindness and love to those in our path.
By the end of the flight, she cheerfully proclaims that she's feeling better; and several times points out that "it all started with a cup of tea!" The truth is, as blessed as I was to receive gifts and her invitations, the joy of helping someone in need along with responding to the Lord's guidance was the greatest reward. And even now, as I was then, I am humbled that such a small act of kindness could have such an impact and can't help but wonder how many times I have surely missed similar opportunities.
Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink?...And the King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.' ~Matthew 25:37, 40 (out of context, but is it?)