When I was on my way to LA last month, I sat next to a talker on the way there. He was nice – he offered to move seats so my friend and I could sit next to one another since she was a few rows back. It was an early flight and I planned on sleeping, so I told him it wasn’t a big deal – she and I would be able to catch up once we got to the city.

He reminded me a lot of my dad – just a guy with a lot of specialized knowledge that he wanted to impart on the world. As it turns out, he was a mechanical engineer and built helicopters. He hoped to retire soon. I’ve flown several time now, but I’m still not used to it and I don’t really enjoy the take off. I get pretty visibly nervous about it – not full blown upset, but my face tends to look a little frightened.

As it turns out, this man built airplanes in his free time. He was building his third. He showed me pictures – they were all yellow with various designs on them, and each model seemed to get more advanced. We were sitting next to the wing. As pieces of the wings moved at different times, he explained what they were doing. He also gave me the basics of how the engine worked. For a somewhat scared flier, he was exactly who I needed to be sitting next to.

Our flight continued. I napped and listened to music. He napped. 

Then it was time to land. He again explained how the pieces of the plan were working at each moment. The plane eventually stopped.

“Can I tell you something?” He said.

“Sure,” I said, a little unsure what was about to happen.

“As a man who is getting closer to the end of my life – you’re just at the beginning of yours – I just want you to remember that you can choose. You’re young, attractive and educated – you can choose how you spend your time and who you spend it with. And it’s just too short not to choose the right kind of people to spend it with.”

I didn’t know what to say. Moments like that are how I know God is up there, caring about me, even though I don’t always remember or understand why. That was exactly what I needed to hear. That man made my day, if not my week, if not my month. It seems simple, but I always forget. 

I get to choose.


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