On a flight to Atlanta to catch a connection to a speaking engagement in Texas, I was staring out the window of the plane, trying to think about this column. What does the pregnancy help community need to hear this week? I asked God.
No answers came. I drew a blank, pressured by the thought that time would be limited in the upcoming 24 hours. I needed something. Anything. Quick. What should I write? There has to be something, I asked again.
But before I could think, my ability to concentrate became more difficult. Next to me two men, unknown to each other before the flight, were quickly building a friendship. One man, African-American, opened his laptop with photos of his lacrosse-playing son popping up on the screen. The other guy, about my age and white, noticed the lacrosse photos and opened the conversation.
Before I knew it, the two were talking about lacrosse—which their sons both play—and colleges for their boys.
Don’t misunderstand; these were good fellas. But I needed to concentrate. I needed silence, time alone with God—I had no time for this. Or was I missing something?
The African-American dad has a son already in college, at Virginia Military Institute. He’s a fan of the school, and proud to be a part of it through his son. I didn’t catch all of the conversation but at some point he said, “They value many of the same things we value as a family.”
The other man, headed to Atlanta for the funeral of his father-in-law, agreed wholeheartedly. They began talking of faith—the African-American man asked for the name of the other man’s wife so he could pray for her as she deals with the loss of her dad. They talked of church and ministries.
Because their conversation was now far from lacrosse (which I’ve seen on TV but know little about), I was ready to jump in. I’m a talker, and now we were in my territory!
Then, another thought captured me: Be quiet, Kirk. Just listen. Listen well.
That’s what I did. I heard two men of faith connecting. They did so out loud, not obnoxiously in any sense but they didn’t care if others overheard.
They talked of Target and its new restroom policies; I found myself nodding my head in agreement with their points of view. They talked of society and the need to be a positive voice and to raise our children well.
Aha. Now everything was clear.
We all need reminders. I certainly did.
We in the pregnancy help community need to remind ourselves we are not alone. These two men exemplified fatherhood, faith and family. And in no coincidence, I was privileged enough to sit next to them and see this up close.
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When the world tells us things are only getting worse or that there is little or no faith left, I will remember these two men. I will remember they are raising the next generation and doing a wonderful job.
Then, I will remember a couple I ran into the night before, raising nine children and telling me, “We liked your positive approach. Just like you, we believe an awakening is coming.”
I will remember the mom who stayed in our home last week, needing a temporary home (between homes) before meeting up with her waiting husband in Georgia as he enters a new job. She and her children brought our home’s population to 12, yet not one of her children was disruptive, and each greeted each day with joy.
I will remember the hundreds of people I get to meet, ordinary people accomplishing the extraordinary task of raising their children with honor, with integrity and with faith in God.
Sometimes I become discouraged with the news of the day, only to remember. And when I remember, I see a next generation, perhaps greater than we can imagine.
As our plane landed, I finally spoke, telling the man next to me I would join in prayer for he and his family, too. The two men asked me what I did for a living (a typical guy question) and I was honored to tell them I work with many of you reading this today. Both were thrilled, both supportive. I wasn’t surprised.
And I knew, these two men provided me a gift; an opportunity to remember.