Sunday, December 5, 2010

I'm motivated to change my wardrobe

So.. on our way home from the cruise, John and I got stuck in Brussels overnight because the plane had an engine problem.  This kind of thing is very difficult to argue with.  The captain casually announces the plane is not moving and then everyone loaded and sitting there has to deal with it.  It's a study in human nature to watch the various reactions of thrown-off passengers.  Actually, John and I remained quite calm; we had little desire to return to 'real' life back in the States... WE WERE IN BRUSSELS!!!  What's the problem!!!!

One lady had some interesting reactions that caught my attention right away.  She was smiling!  She was calm!  I struck up a conversation at the baggage carousel as we all waited about 45 minutes for our thrown-off luggage to reappear.  Yes, she was heading to the US to see her 91-year-old father and yes, this was day 3 of travel.  Two nights before she had been up most of the night to attend to a native in childbirth.  She (I'll call her Sal) was a missionary living the past 16 years in Guinea.  In Guinea, Sal has a husband and 3 children (plus one son going to college in Iowa).  I had just gotten off a cruise boat - one of the most luxurious vacations available to man - and she had come from a home where there was no electricity and water was available by pump.  Sal had helped the pregnant native lady for hours by the light of a flashlight, and then paid a driver to take her through the country to a hospital during the night under possible gunfire!  Sal looked fresh.  I looked spoiled...

All of we passengers were funneled to a hotel connected to the airport and again stood in line to check into a room.  I whipped out my cell phone and asked some fellow passengers how to make a cheap international call.  Sal, of course, had no cell phone.

Next, we were all herded to a buffet lunch in the hotel.  I could hardly believe my eyes!  The food was fine but obviously airport grub left over from something the day before.  It was kinda odds and ends-ish.  When Sal saw it, her face lit up at the lavish feast.  I was still full from having eaten too much on a cruise boat laden with more choices than humanly possible.  Sal said they eat a lot of rice in Guinea, just mostly rice...  During lunch, I questioned Sal more about what she was doing in Guinea.  I was fascinated by her selfless acts and her servant attitude. 

Dinner time rolled around, and again, we strolled to the buffet line to see it laden with the same food as lunch!  Passengers were taking pictures as proof of our abuse... Sal, again, thanked God for this feast... John and I ate about 3 bites.  Sal was dressed Guinea-style.   She was festive and talked to everyone, getting to know their situations and feelings.  She offered to get anyone something more.  She encouraged us and made us smile.  She walked a frail lady to her room.  Sal was gentle, kind and peaceful.  I was not...

Lately, I had read a book that really challenged me.  The gist of it was:  if believers are filled with the Holy Spirit, why don't we look and act different than non-believers.  It should be obvious that we 'wear' our faith; that we are loving and Christ-like in our actions and attitudes.  This idea was stuck in the back of my mind and I had prayed that God would show me and teach me how to do this.  As you read in the Bible, people flocked to Jesus.  He was gentle, tenderhearted and loving.  He was a powerful healer and would do miracles to help someone.  And now I had an answer to my prayer.  Right here, during an unexpected overnight stay in Brussels, Sal showed me how to be more Christ-like.  She showed me how to put on loving gentleness and peacefulness. She was a clear example of how to live this Spirit-filled life that looks different than everyone else.  Everyone noticed her...

So to finish this out, my prayer is that you all meet a Sal.  Her example has really given me something to shoot for.  She's a clear lesson on what to 'wear'.   Colossians 3:12 says 'Therefore as God's chosen people... clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.'  Lord, help me with this wardrobe revision.  Start with my inner thoughts and motivations and change me so much that I 'wear' Your characteristics on the outside each and every day.

1 comment:

  1. I loved this post! How blessed to meet someone who provided you with such a vivid example of a life well-lived. And you pose an important question for us all, "Why don't we look and act different...?).