Unexpected Lessons

I’ve been back in Lake Charles from Christmas break for four days now. I was suppose to come back on the 5th but due to an inflamed joint in my hip the physical therapist told me to stay home another week. When I heard this news at first I had the “I’m going back anyways and you can’t do anything about it” mentality but after praying, and talking to a few people about it I found peace with it. I texted the friends I was suppose to ride back with the next day and told them the news. Over the course of that week I enjoyed spending extra time with family and friends, I missed all the SeaHawks but knew I’d be back soon enough.

My parents decided that I should fly part way back and then take a bus because it was cheaper then driving me themselves, I love flying so I was completely fine with this. I left Wed morning at 7:30 a.m. and arrived in Lake Charles at 11 p.m. That day turned into a learning experience.

I talked to several different people along the way. When I travel I usually keep to myself but apparently I had a sign on me that said “TALK TO ME” that I wasn’t aware of. The first two people I talked to while waiting for my flight out of Atlanta. It was a completely random conversation 3 strangers had in an airport, nothing really special about it just an enjoyable conversation.

The next person I talked to was a man waiting for the same downtown bus as me in New Orleans. I asked him where he was headed and he said “I have no idea, I’m just going” and I said “I know how that is”. What he said next stuck out and made me want to know more about him “Yeah you know what I’m saying and I’m saying what you know”. We talked more on the bus, I told him about Friendships and the SeaHawks program, he told me about a job interview he was suppose to have later in the week but he didn’t really know what he was going to do. It got me thinking about how thankful I was to be headed somewhere I can call a second home. There are times in life where I have felt I have no purpose and I’m just following a routine to make it through life, but I’ve always had a home and family. He rode with me all the way to the end of the bus line where I had to walk 5 blocks to make it to the Greyhound station. I didn’t say goodbye to him (I have an annoying habit of doing that to people I know I will most likely never see again) but I’m still thinking about our conversation and how I’m thankful God let us cross paths. I’m praying he finds his purpose and can feel content in what he is doing.

Once on the Greyhound it was a 5 hour drive to Lake Charles, we stopped at several stations and at one point traded passengers from another bus. An older lady came on the bus looking like she was wearing all the clothes she owned and carrying a crochet purse. The moment I saw her I prayed “Please don’t sit next to me, please don’t sit next to me”…. of course she did. Don’t get me wrong I’m not afraid of older people or have anything against them, I could just tell she was a talker. For about 3 hours she talked and talked and talked. Sometimes it was interesting sometimes it was nonsense. Turns out she was from the mountains of TN and headed to TX to visit “her people”.

She’d been traveling since midnight the night before. She was a widow for 4 years and hadn’t talked to that many people. She told me about all the people she had met and talked to on the other buses and asked me all sorts of questions about where I was from. At one point she saw me texting and asked if I was playing a game. I kinda of stared at her a moment then smiled and said “No, I’m texting.” Her response was “Oh how cute! I’ve never seen that before.” I know my eyes kind of widened but I just smiled again and looked back down at my phone. I let her talk and sometimes even asked her questions even though I knew it was start another 20 minute story. Eventually I pretended to fall asleep so she would stop chattering. I really was tired and had a headache so I wasn’t doing it to be rude, I just didn’t know how to get her to stop.

As we neared Lake Charles I “woke up” and immediately she started talking again. I had some not so nice thoughts about to run through my head when she said “You know I’m really glad I met you, you are so sweet and I can tell you have a laid back personality, it’s very refreshing, and you have a beautiful smile. God made you very pretty.” My mouth opened and my heart kind of crumpled on the inside. Here I was annoyed at how much she talked when the whole time she was just trying to get to know me and being sweet. I told her I was glad we met too and I hoped she enjoyed her time with her family. And I really meant it. I finally stumbled off the bus at 10:55 p.m. and as a surprise got tackled by most of my unit. There was a lot of shouting, laughing and shoving to be the first to hug me and I about cried to be “home” again.

I really think God had me go back a week later just so I could meet these people and learn about them and myself in the process. Every trip can be an opportunity to grow, even if it’s a trip to the grocery store. Don’t miss out.

A little bit about our guest blogger:

Megan Stansbury has been involved with Collision College Ministry for almost two years. In August she left for an 11 month program with Sea Hawks based out of Louisiana.

Over the next couple months, Megan will be sharing her heart for missions and the inspiration that she finds through the missions program God has called her into. Be sure to check back and follow Megan as the organization gives aid to Haiti and takes part in other disaster relief efforts.

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