May 22, 2013

What a Man in the Atlanta Airport and the Search for My Father Have in Common

Atlanta airport is a place where it seems scores of people are always racing to their next connection. Most times that I go through the ATL, I end up being part of a pack that is running to our next gate.

Photo Credit: RecycleHarmony, Flickr
 During the month of May, I've been away preaching a third of the month and have gone through the ATL several times. As I was navigating the hustle and bustle one day, I met a middle aged gentlemen who had never flown before. He was missing about half his teeth and had a southern drawl. He turned to me with a look of desperation and said, "I have never flown before and I have no idea what I'm doing."

I asked to see his boarding pass and instructed him to get on the shuttle with me. As the doors were closing I noticed he had put his suitcase down but wasn't holding on to it or anything else. "Sir, hold on to the pole, please," I said. "Grab your suitcase with one hand and this pole with the other."

"Oh? Does this thing go fast or something?" he said with a puzzled look.

"Yeah, it goes pretty quick," I answered. "You're gonna want to steady yourself. Even a strong person like you will need to."

A second later we took off and in his twangy voice he said, "I am so glad you just gave me that advice to hold on. Like I said, I have no idea where I'm going or what I'm doing." 
Photo Credit: kthypryn, Flickr

The doors opened and he was getting ready to get off before I stopped him and said, "This is not your stop. You are staying on with me, until we get off together at terminal B."  

"Oh, gotcha..." he said. "I am so glad you told me that. I didn't know this thing stopped at more than once place. I'm all turned around." 

"Glad to help," I said. We got off at our terminal and I told him we would be going up the escalator and to our respective gates. He was shaking his head in amazement as we got on the escalator. "I woulda never figured this out," he said, with a weary look.

Once we got to our terminal I showed him to his gate, then went to mine.  He expressed his thanks over and over.

I believe we should be kind, simply because it's the right thing to do.

I'm also a believer in what the Bible teaches about sowing and reaping. We sow and reap in areas we don't even expect...and areas that aren't even the same! It's important to live a lifestyle of kindness and loving and giving and helping. And we never know how that will come back to us.

On Monday, some people unexpectedly helped me in the search for my father.

The first person -- an adoptee friend, Lynn Grubb --  did some research and suddenly information was in my inbox that was a delightful surprise. (Not the final information I need, but another step on what is a long rollercoaster ride...a journey.)

The second person, a search angel I never met nor knew previous to Monday, named Zach Pasters, sent me some information.  Although I had never been introduced to Zach yet he stopped to help, because Lynn asked him to.

And the third person who helped is a man I will not choose to name at this point. He lives in the place I was adopted, Richmond, Virginia, and is not a part of the adoption community whatsoever. But, he is someone with connections to information. I told him my situation and honestly, it could have gone either way. People have strong opinions about situations like my particular one. I could sense his shock as I informed him of the details. He could have chosen to not be involved. He could have looked the other way. I realized when I approached him that my honesty about who I was and what I was doing could have scared him off but after thinking about it and considering he responded with, "Yes, I'm going to help you."

Photo Credit: RedCrashPad, Flickr

Like the man in the Atlanta airport, a lot of days on this journey I have no idea where I'm going or what I'm doing.

There are times people have had to tell me to hold on. There have been many jolts along the way and I have needed to brace myself, although I consider myself strong. Adoptees and first mothers, and search angels have reached out and told me what to expect -- from my family, friends, and society, even before things happened. And overwhelmingly, their advice has been on target. 

Sometimes I've gotten all turned around.

Others have been so kind to help me on the journey.

None of us get to our destination alone. 

I am so thankful for the amazing adoptee and first mother community that has a strength that when unleashed to it's fullest extent is going to change the world as we know it.

I am also grateful for those who aren't adoptees or first mothers, but simply function as kind human beings.

They are Jesus with skin on, for me, for you.