Lisa Herrington learns an unexpected valuable life lesson on a short airplane ride…
On a flight back home, I was reading Bob Goff’s book, “Everybody Always” where he talked about always loving everybody without distinctions and limits. I was sitting next to an older lady who was dressed up, and also difficult to understand. I made it clear from the start that I intended to read during the hour long flight. Twenty minutes in, my plan didn’t seem to matter to her at all, because she kept trying to talk to me. I was getting more and more annoyed by the second. She started telling me why she was in Southern California for the weekend. I didn’t care, but she wouldn’t stop talking either.
She explained how her wealthy cousin was turning 90 and had been planning his own birthday party for quite awhile. The party was held at some fancy country club. Her cousin had recently passed his driving test, although no one thought he should be driving. Despite his kids objection, he wanted to drive himself in his BMW. He didn’t die, but was injured in an accident on the way to his party, and taken to the hospital. He never made it to his party. She knew he was alive, but had no other details. I closed my book and talked with her for the rest of the flight.
Ironic how this was all happening as I was reading this particular book! As I’ve thought about it more, it shouldn’t have taken so much for me to put my book down, listen, chat, and be present. She could have been lonely and going home to an empty house, or suffering a terminal illness, or any number of other things. I’m not beating myself up. I’m glad I stopped being so selfish and didn’t miss the entire opportunity.
“I was given an opportunity just to be kind. I wonder how many I miss everyday.”
I shared this story with the seniors at Parkview, an assisted living center, and talked about how we all have opportunities to be kind, which doesn’t cost us a thing- except a little bit of our time. I talked about looking for the opportunities that come our way and then actually being kind.
There was a new resident named Wanda at Parkview this morning. I try to acknowledge when there is someone new and introduce them to the group. As we ended, Judy turns to Wanda and says, “Would you like to go have lunch with me?” Wanda happily agreed, and they headed toward the dining room. Judy ended up inviting three other ladies to join them. Who knows, maybe she invited more along the way!
Judy took what I said immediately to heart, and acted on it. A lot of times I wonder if the messages make any difference. Do the seniors take anything away? Their world is small, and shrinking all the time. They are dependent on others to take care of them and their memory fails them. Life doesn’t get easier and better for them, it gets harder. I’m not trying to sound depressing, but it is a sad reality.
I don’t know that Judy will remember any of this tomorrow, or even at dinnertime. I’ve watched her become more and more frazzled and forgetful in just a few weeks. I won’t be surprised at all if she’s moved into Memory Care soon. However, what I do know is Judy had lunch with Wanda. She knew Wanda was new, and wanted to be friendly and welcoming.
We all want to feel valued, and contribute to the world around us.
I’m humbled, thankful, and reminded that as a Christ follower I need to learn more and more how to love everybody always.