Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: TRAVELER (01/28/16)
TITLE: By Air, Rail or Land
By Wanda Draus
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I realize there are people who take travel time to unwind and relax away from the hustle and bustle of this busy life and I am very considerate as I take my seat next to someone. If for instance they have headphones on that are not even connected to anything it’s a sure sign not to engage in conversation. If they avoid all eye contact or deeply interested in the book they are reading upside down, DO NOT APPROACH!
In the last three years I’ve been traveling to the great frontier state of Wyoming from Illinois to visit my sweet granddaughter. It is not an easy trek. Every possible mode of transportation by air, rail, and land is necessary to arrive in Cheyenne but along the way I have met some interesting people.
I met a mother once whose son was over in Africa where he first went as a volunteer to help with the orphaned children. She spoke with passion as she told me how her son gave up a promising career, his home, and other privileges we enjoy here at home to move permanently to a small village in Africa and start his own non-profit organization to help children left behind due to disease, poverty and extreme violence among the people.
On a shuttle to Fort Collins, I met a woman who was 84 and was arriving back home after a week stay in Michigan for work. I was floored, that she was still working at 84. She told me retired at 70 and was given a wonderful retirement party but soon after the administrators where she worked asked if she would like to travel onsite and do inspections for home health facilities and 14 years later she travels 3 weeks out of the month and one week off. I mentioned the “fitbit” she was wearing and she delightedly told me how she researches the hotels before she leaves to make sure there were accommodations for her to get her steps in.
On one of my trips back to Illinois, I met a young exchange student from Russia. I asked him how he liked Wyoming in his broken English he told me how much he loved the United States and the family he stayed with in Wyoming, he said, “they are, how do you say, cowboys. Nice people.” Then in a hushed toned, his demeanor became visibly shaken. The previous day a Russian Airliner leaving Egypt had crashed killing 224 people. He had a fear of flying and this just propelled his fear to a new level and there was a deep sadness for the 224 people lost from his country.
Then there was Dan, traveling to Boston to be with his dying brother. It was unexpected and he just couldn’t wrap his head around the fact that he had been with his brother who was healthy and vibrant a few weeks ago and now he had days to live before a brain tumor took his life. I sat there genuinely hurting for Dan.
I made the bold move and asked if his brother was a man of faith? He hesitated for a moment and then said that neither one of them were. I then briefly shared my faith in Christ and how you never know what the next moment will bring in our lives. As we exited the shuttle to go to our perspective airlines, he thanked me for a listening ear and we bid each other safe travels.
Some aspect of my faith in Christ will come up in conversation one way or another. I may mention I will pray for them and their situation or how God has helped me in times of fear or stress. I never browbeat anyone over religion, politics, or sport teams—unless it’s defending my Cubs. I don’t inquire the status of their salvation or shove religious tracks at them, not that there is anything wrong with that. I simply tell them I will pray.
I believe as we travel through life, we plant seeds of God’s love along the way. Hopefully, by the way we live, a listening ear or a promise to pray. Theodore Roosevelt said, “people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
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