It was undeniably God-ordained, and it almost didn’t happen.
That’s how I explain an encounter I had on my flight home from Dallas, TX. I spent five days in Dallas for a work event, and while I was gone, Hubs and kiddos moved from #littleapartmentontheprairie to our #bighouseonalittleprairie. I left North Dakota, spent five days in Dallas, and returned home to rural Minnesota – all of which is symbolic in a unique way and I will attempt to unpack later. But for now, back to the trip home.
As you might imagine, I was r-e-a-d-y to leave. I wanted to get unpacked, settled in, and enjoy the space and serenity of the house God hand-picked for us. Those days in Dallas were great, but I was constantly distracted by my desire to get home and be with my family in our new space.
Getting through security and checking in for my flight back proved a struggle for me. I am not the most well-versed traveler in the world. If you want to road trip across the lower 48, I’m your gal. When it comes to flying and shuffling through crowds in terminals and figuring out check-in kiosks, I am not at all in my element. I made it through and eventually found my gate and settled in to pass the time before I would be able to board.
It was minutes before the initial boarding call was issued when I saw her in my gate. I cannot tell you anything other than when I saw her, something in my spirit told me, “Connect with her.”
I don’t know about you, but when I’m already out of my element and in an airport terminal with who-knows-who-else in the world, I pretty much want to keep to myself. I’m what I call a “circumstantial extrovert” anyway, which means I’m mostly introverted except when the occasion dictates otherwise, and an airport terminal is very much introvert territory. When I heard “connect with her”, I looked at her, shifted in my seat, and focused intently on my Instagram feed.
Yes. I completely and willfully ignored the Holy Spirit.
Do as I say, not as I do. I do not recommend avoiding direction from Holy Spirit. Chances are there is a reason you receive said direction. Ask Jonah what happens when you do the opposite of what God wants you to do. Thankfully there were no giant fish swimming by in the airport that morning, because I’m pretty sure I would have ended up in its belly.
They started calling group numbers to board, and the mystery woman stepped onto the plane long before my group number was called. I had dodged a circumstantial extrovert encounter.
No sooner did I step on to the plane, my eyes glanced to the back where I was headed. When I caught sight of my seat, I started to laugh out loud. Sitting in the seat right next to me was the woman I had seen at the gate, who I had all but been commanded to connect with.
No stinking way.
She was flustered, after having to remove some items from her carry on bag to get it to fit in the overhead compartment. I caught her eye, smiled, and said I needed to get in to sit by the window. Our conversation started by talking about packing and travel woes.
For the next two-and-a-half hours, we talked about everything. I’m not kidding – everything. She knows all about my family, and I know all about hers. We shared stories from growing up, we shared struggles, we shared triumphs, we shared and we shared and we shared. We laughed, we cried, and when it was all said and done, we hugged after stepping off the plane in Fargo. She gave me her cell number and told me we should get together the next time I’m in Dallas, and you bet your bootie I’m going to take her up on that.
I don’t know why I was supposed to connect with her. Goodness knows I enjoyed our conversation as much as if I weren’t assigned to have it. For all I know, Spirit could have told me to connect with her because yours truly needed it, not because she did.
But I almost missed it. I almost missed the conversation and the connection and the experience entirely.
I learned a lot on that flight home. I learned even when I don’t feel like doing something, if the Holy Spirit initiates an encounter, it is in my best interest to follow Him to it. I learned (again) I don’t know better, and there is always room for others. That seems to be a lesson I’m taught on repeat… I also learned all about a dear woman from Dallas who I never would have met otherwise.
Who knows what my next “nudge” will be. I only hope when I sense it, I respond rather than refuse.