I’m a firm believer that God can use us in plenty of ways to achieve a purpose greater than ourselves and sometimes that seems to come in the oddest of ways like it did for me on my recent trip to visit my sister’s family in the Nashville area.
On my flight out, I was the first one to board the plane and in turn, quickly grabbed a seat in the front row by placing one of my articles on it because of the extra leg room there. Given how tall I am and how uncomfortable it often gets for me when flying, especially when the seat in front of me is reclined directly onto my lap, I was convinced that nothing could make me give up the precious seat I had gotten. That was until an elderly husband and wife boarded the plane and opted to sit next to me. Their middle-aged daughter, who was also travelling with them, chose to take a seat behind the one I had yet to sit down in. As the husband passed by me while I was getting something from the overhead bin, I caught a very strong whiff of his body odor and instantly felt sick to my stomach. Being that I am extremely sensitive to some smells, body odor definitely being at the top, I immediately decided to give my seat to the man’s daughter and get as far away from him as possible. While the family took this as a gracious act, I honestly felt a little guilty and somewhat judgmental as I grabbed a new aisle seat in the second to last row of the plane.
Shortly thereafter, an announcement was made letting all the passengers know that the plane was almost full and I silently wondered if my hasty act was only going to put me into an even more uncomfortable situation that I would have to deal with. At that point, I never once considered that God’s plan for me might actually had involved my sudden move and was part of something much greater at work.
Nevertheless, as the last of the passengers boarded, a very attractive woman in her mid 30’s was the one who ended up choosing to sit in the window seat of my row, while the middle seat between us ironically remained one of the few left unoccupied on the plane. Soon, the airline attendants began their pre-flight procedures and it was then I decided to strike up a conversation with this pretty woman and ask her why she was travelling to Nashville. She told me she was going to visit her sister to have a few days of downtime from her busy life, which I told her was ironic because I was visiting my sister as well. She also said she was feeling really nervous because she had never flown alone before.
It was then I opted to tell her about my own fears of getting away, with all my health issues and such, and how I hadn’t travelled anywhere in some time because of them. I continued to share with her a good portion of my spiritual journey and many of the fears I had overcome so far in life, which in turn helped her to open up about much of her life too. And for what seemed like a mere blink of an eye, an hour and twenty minutes passed just like that.
As we de-boarded the plane, my new friend looked at me, smiled, and said it had been one of the most pleasant flights she ever had and that she had felt relaxed the entire time. She thanked me for making that happen, which led me to smile and say that maybe God was the one who deserved the credit.
After all, maybe God knew that the only thing that could ever motivate me to move from a seat that had far more comfort than the tiny row I eventually found myself in, was to have some guy with extremely strong body odor sit directly next to me. Anything else, I know I would have simply accepted and remained there. So perhaps God really did know that’s what it was going to take for me to be of service for His greater purposes that day, to help a total stranger find a little peace during her flight…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson