"Having a blog is like wandering around your house naked with the windows open; it's all very liberating until someone looks in the window. However, while being caught unawares is one thing, it is quite another to stroll up to the window and press your naked, flabby body against the coolness of the glass in a hideous form of vertical prostration for all the world to see..." These posts are the smudges that are left behind on the window.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

The Middle Seat

I had to travel for work the other day. I'm always a bit concerned about what seat I get, as I hate sitting in the middle seat. I read an article that said the person in the middle seat should get both arm rests, as the window person actually has a bit of excess room between the arm rest and the actual window, while the aisle person can always lean out a bit for some more room. Makes sense to me, but I still hate the middle seat, and you can't count on the person either side of you having read the same article.

Anyway, when I checked in at the kiosk, I made sure to check my seats on all three legs of the flight to make sure they were aisle seats - they were. Perfect. When I boarded there was already someone in the window seat, but the middle was empty, so I waited, hoping against hope that no one was acually sitting there, which would give me even more room. The flight was just about compleley boarded when a woman came towards my row, and looked at the seat beside me with a crest fallen look on her face. Then I saw the man behind her, with the same look on his face as he made preparations for moving into the middle seat in the row in front of me, on the opposite side of the aisle. It was clear that they were together, and I waited for the inevitable question.

It didn't take very long before he asked me if it would be possible to swap seats with him, so he could sit beside his wife. Since he wasn't completely settled yet, I grasped at a straw and asked if he was in the middle seat. Yes. Sigh. "Yeah, sure - not a problem" I said in an attempt to act like the little Christ that I'm supposed to be. I consoled myself that it was only a 2 hour flight. It's not like crossing the atlantic.

After I was settled in my new seat, the guy comes over and tries to give me a five dollar bill to say thanks. Very nice, but I give it back to him saying that it's not necessary - and really it isn't. I didn't do it to gain anybodies appreciation, I really did do it to reflect Christ - as all Christians should be doing - trying to live life the way God had designed us to in the first place. All through the flight I struggled with what to say to the guy when we landed, because I knew he would try to thank me again as we were getting off the plane.

This is something that I have thought about in the past. I've always felt that in order for, what appears to be, a random act of kindness to be meaningful, that it should somehow be tied back to God.

I thought of a few things, but they all seemed cliche-ish, stupid, sappy or corny. Some I thought of only Gandhi could pull off. My mind kept being drawn back to this older Hollywood movie, Pay It Forward. I never actually saw the movie, but I heard enough about it to understand the basic premise. Then it kind of occurred to me that this was probably ok. After all isn't that what it's sort of about - trying to move the world forward, a little at a time, towards what the world was meant to be in God's original design. I know it will never reach that state until God returns, but it is the essence of Christian responsibility and purpose to do everything we can to move towards that state.

So that's what I did. Sure enough, as we were all standing up to retrieve our luggage from the overhead bins, he did thank me again, to which I responded that he could thank me by paying it forward some day. His wife understood, but I'm not sure that he did 100%. But that's ok, either she'll explain it to him, or someday he'll come across a similar situation as I did, and the light will come on and he'll understand at that time.

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