As I sat in the Pitt terminal waiting for my mom to be able to check in at the ticketing counter, I wondered if I would tie my 5 Minute Friday “connect” piece today in with the idea of connections during travel.
Then I saw the crawl across the TV screen above the cafe bar, and all thoughts of a travel piece fled my mind.
“3 dead at Ft Lauderdale airport, shooter at large.”
I calmly mentioned the news to my 90-year-old mom and proceeded to check social media news sites for details. The number of dead and injured and the status of the gunman (or gunmen) changed with every flick of my thumb as I scrolled through headlines. Then I saw a twitter frame that read:
“Witness: "There's kind of a spirit of camaraderie in here...Talking to people that we don't know. Making sure others are ok."
And from another witness: "I was not certain what was going on and I pulled out my phone and texted my family to tell them that I loved them."
And the word “connect” came back to mind.
Look, no matter whether you make resolutions or what they are. Here’s a resolution for this very moment: Connect with the souls around you. Maybe you’re at home and those whom you love are nearby. Maybe you’re at work and the people around you are acquaintances. Maybe you’re surrounded by strangers in a public place … a store, on a highway, in an airport.
Compassion doesn’t require similar interests or like positions or shared experiences. Simply soften your heart toward the fellows around you. We, none of us, know what is to happen in the next minute, so engage the souls around -- accomplishing, in God’s will, at the very least, making a day less miserable for another, perhaps discovering a kindred spirit in the Lord, and maybe even winsomely being the sweetener the Holy Spirit uses to draw another toward Jesus.
It's worth letting past conflicts go. It's opening the gift vault of the Spirit with all its treasures and saying, Jesus lets me share these with you. It's carving out a spot in your heart for others, the ultimate in hospitality.
And pray for all those involved, from the injured, to the witnesses, to the emergency responders, to the airport personnel, to the families of the deceased. May God have mercy on us all.
** Five Minute Friday (FMF) is a weekly event hosted at the website of Kate Motaung wherein participants are given a single word prompt every Thursday evening, which remains active for one week. How to play: write for 5 minutes on the thoughts, memories, impressions, reflections, aspirations, hopes, beliefs, convictions, or whatever, that that prompt word brings to mind. Set a timer, write without worry about spelling or grammar or typos, and stop when the timer goes off (no cheating). The rules are here. It's free, it's non-committal, and it's easy to participate, so come to the #FMFparty with me! This week, the word was CONNECT.
Laura England Miller