I had already noticed the tall stranger from afar, but now she crossed right in front of me before taking a seat right next to me. She looked young and beautiful, fit and energetic. I would learn shortly that her name was Cindy, but not before I discovered many other things first. She paused from working on her laptop and excused herself by asking me to protect her purse and belongings. She said, “You look like someone I can trust, would you mind watching my things.” I took her assessment as a high compliment and vowed to not disappoint her.
When the lean and long-legged woman returned, this seemingly confident woman told me about her hectic morning. Frozen pipes had launched her into a shower-less start. That explained the pretty, pink ball cap and the bouncy pony tail out the back. She'd been at the airport since 8:00 a.m. on this frigid day, only to learn her morning flight was cancelled. And here she sat next to me, at 12:30 in the afternoon, outside gate 7, a place and a time she never anticipated.
As she divulged her frustrations, with more humor than aggravation, she revealed her greatest distress at the moment: that someone she knew might see her in this less-than-perfect condition. I could relate, but I couldn't believe her anxiety. She was beautiful and I told her how the cap and the hair do made her look youthful. She laughed at the comment and it helped alleviate some self-induced stress. But I wasn't just feeding her empty compliments to pacify her or allay her negative self-analysis. I meant it!
“Even if you looked as bad as you think,” I told her, “you would still be beautiful.”
Before I'd left the house that morning, I grabbed a book I've had for at least a half dozen years. It was one of the few on the bookshelf that I had not already read and was small enough to stick in my purse for emergency material to pass the time while on the plane or waiting. I pulled it out and managed to read one chapter just minutes before Cindy entered my world. I selected that section based on the simple bookmark I found that indicated I'd come this far at some point before now. And as the Lord would have it, the chapter fit perfectly this moment.
As Cindy proceeded to pull her hat down tighter and work at invisibility, I told her what I just read about the true value of a person. “We're not objects that have their worth in function,” I shared. “We're not valued because of performance or good looks. It's how the Lord sees us that matters.”
She flashed a beautiful smile and said, “Thanks, I needed to hear that!”
As we exchanged more info about one another – career, family and some faith - she took my business card and said she'd check my blog for more encouragement. And when we parted company, she said, “If we never meet again, have a nice...” Cindy paused before she finished, then added “Have a nice life.”
As long as the Lord uses me this way, I'm sure it will be. For little does Cindy know that I asked my Lord the night before to make me an instrument of blessing. Give me someone to encourage or minister to in my journey, I prayed. And I asked again that morning to be His hands and feet and to show His love to a stranger.
I hope Cindy does check out my blog. Because I want her to know when she reads this column that God saw her that morning and He loved her without clean hair and polished make-up. He loved her as is. And He loved her enough to bump her to a flight that would position her in such a way to hear Him tell her through the mouth of a stranger. How cool is that!
I prayed for her before I knew her. Now, I'm praying that when Cindy reads this story, it will make her smile that gorgeous grin.