A few days ago, I found myself seated on a plane next to a life-filled young man who was traveling to visit his girlfriend, whom he’d met while serving in Kuwait. He was one of those unusual folks who says “hello” and actually means it.
He asked what I was reading (Jesus Freak by Sara Miles), which I thought might shut down the conversation but instead had the opposite effect. As we chatted I learned that he was a preacher’s kid, who had explored a wide range of approaches to spirituality in his journey. He shared his favorite quote, paraphrased here: “A gust of wind can sail a boat around the world.”
We began talking about the Holy Spirit and how we can be led in our lives if we will be open to it. We talked about the importance of silence and of breathing deeply. This young man, whom I’ll call “J,” does a lot of work as a diver for the military — everything from repairing bridges to engaging in rescue operations. He said water is an essential element of his sense of identity and of his spirituality. I told him that being underwater for periods of time must be incredibly quiet. He said he always takes the first few minutes of a dive to sit motionless in the water, oftentimes in the pitch dark, and listen. When we parted ways, I shared contact information (he had asked a lot about the new ministry). I want to hear about how well J is doing in life and how he is contributing. Not sure when I will hear from him again but I hope I do. Our meeting was definitely a Holy Spirit moment.
(Photo with my brother taken on a roller coaster at Mall of America before we headed to some old family farms in Wisconsin. As the “wind” brushed over us, I couldn’t help but think of my conversation with “J.”)