I sat myself down in the aisle seat, my tiny girl in my lap. Immediately her little hands set to work dismantling the seat back pocket and it’s contents and as any travel weary mother would, I let her. I took my time unloading our things and getting settled, quietly amused as passenger after passenger walked past our open row.
I’d learned many things as I began traveling with my girl, the first of which was that no one willingly chooses to sit next to a baby.She startled me, with her request for the window seat in our row. There were plenty of empty rows left and didn’t she see I had a baby with me? Didn’t she know I couldn’t promise her a pleasant flight, a peaceful reprieve from the chaos outside the walls of our plane?
Surely, out of all the other options, she wasn’t intentionally choosing us?
She was though. She was choosing us. She was choosing us with all of our baggage, all of our flaws, all of our certain imperfections. She chose to extend kindness and compassion to that travel weary momma and got quiet gratitude and a few haphazardly placed Sesame Street stickers on her jeans in return.
With eyes that graciously said, “I’ve been there too,” she squeezed into that seat next to us with the unspoken agreement that she’d love to help.
I don’t know her name and she doesn’t know mine.
And isn’t that the most beautiful way it goes sometimes?
But I wished her and her own babies well when she walked away, thanking her for her help. And under the lofty ceilings of that airport terminal, I couldn’t help but marvel at the joy it is to be seen and known and chosen anyway. To be chosen for our imperfections instead of avoided because of them. To be reminded of our Jesus and the grace He extends through the quiet kindness of a seat-mate.You see it, don’t you? These moments of favor are so easily missed when we won’t take our eyes off of ourselves. How easily we tend to disregard these interactions, to write them off as the fortuitous hand of luck. How easily we see brokenness instead of the victory, advantage instead of grace.
How easily we see the opposite of what He wants us to, because we are too busy focusing on all that isn’t.
I wonder what would happen if you spent a little time with Him? I wonder if you, like me, would see that you’re seeing it wrong? That somehow, you keep looking around the plank in your eye, desperate to find those specks of sawdust. That somehow, you think that seeing the brokenness of others will make you feel whole. That somehow, you’ve allowed His grace, extended to you by a stranger, to stop shining the way He intended it to.
That woman next to me was Jesus that day.
And for a brief moment, I took my eyes off myself, stopped looking for sawdust, and all I saw was grace.Maybe, like me, you’re seeing it better now?
That is what he does. That is how he works. That is who He is.
He stops at your seat and says, “I see you, I know you, I’ve been there.” Then He quietly takes his seat next to you with a gentle “I’m always here if you need me.”
There’s quiet grace, and it’s everywhere, and you’ve only to open your eyes to see it.