by Holly Good
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3 (NIV)
He sat across the aisle from me, talking to himself. I had boarded a plane very early one morning in TX, after a weekend women’s conference where I was serving with Lysa. I casually glanced over at him and thought, “Oh boy, this will be interesting.” And I closed my eyes to settle in.
After several minutes, he realized he was in the wrong seat. He jumped up, grabbed his belongings and crossed the aisle to join me. And once again, I thought, “Oh boy, here we go.”
I was a bit nervous to be honest. We exchanged pleasantries and I closed my eyes again, waiting for the plane to take off. He continued to mumble to himself as he looked out his window.
Several more minutes passed. I tried to fall asleep. And then finally, deep in my heart I felt compelled to talk to my seat mate, even though there was still a part of me that begged for my eyes to remain closed; shut off in my comfort zone.
“Tell me about yourself,” I reluctantly smiled.
He told me his name was Henry. Then he started asking me just as many questions as I was asking him. With every answer I gave, he would kindly respond, “Well that sounds good.”
I looked around somewhat apologetically as Henry continued to dialogue with me in a very loud tone.
It was then that I profoundly felt three words rush into my mind, “This is Me.”
I stopped. I pondered. I swallowed. And I blinked.
“You, Lord?” I hesitantly questioned.
“This is Me,” I gently but clearly sensed again. And then, “Look at Me.”
I reflected for a moment and remembered, “‘…I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:40.
My perspective abruptly softened. I looked at Henry with inquisitive eyes as he chatted away. I examined every detail on his face. I noticed his scruffy beard and bushy eyebrows and I looked deep into his eyes, which he told me did not work very well.
Henry was traveling to attend his grandmother’s funeral several states away. He was about to see his father, whom he hadn’t had contact with in 25 years. As our conversation unfolded, I learned that Henry had been born with a birth defect called Poland Syndrome. He had a small left hand with fingers that didn’t move and permanent paralysis in the upper left side of his body. He dropped out of high school several years earlier because students were not nice to him.
I listened with interest as we talked about his love of computers. I was captivated by his knowledge, and continued with a long list of questions. We happily shared my granola snack over an animated conversation as he talked and I listened.
All of my previous inhibitions had completely vanished.
The last words Henry spoke to me were, “People never talk to me like you have.”
I blinked back tears as I helped him read his connecting boarding pass. I gently smiled goodbye. But my heart was sad as we got off the plane. You see, I knew how close I was to being like everyone else. So very close. And how many times in the past I was like everyone else.
I had ministered to women the entire weekend, but I was resistant to talk to the fragile soul right beside me, begging for attention.
Meeting Henry changed me that day.
Meeting Henry taught me to pray daily for eyes to see deeper, ears to listen more intently and a heart to humbly embrace new perspectives.
Open the eyes of my heart Lord. I want to see others the way You do. Because when I do, I learn.
And the more I learn, the more I am drawn closer to the One who created it all.
Who might be your Henry today?
Dear Lord, I want to know You more. Help me to see beyond my normal routine and humbly embrace those around me with a desire to learn. Please teach me Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.