This blog is intended to inspire and encourage everyone reading it to become more outwardly focused, to make personal connections and look for ways to bless others.
Here is a personal story, that I experienced recently with Seeds That Bless Cards.
I could hear him above the small talk in a crowded waiting area full of passengers waiting for the departure of their train from Chicago Union Station. His voice was loud and annoying. I watched him as he moved from person to person yelling, “Do you want to see some pictures?". If they declined, he would try again saying, “Hey do you know what this is?", pulling what looked like a small rock from a crumpled brown paper bag inside the coat pocket of his jacket. I found myself moving to different areas of the waiting room to avoid coming in contact with him, and asking God, “PLEASE don’t let him be on my train”.
I looked forward to this train journey in my first year of retirement. It was a time to slow down, and avoid the busy airports, limited carry-on luggage, crunched up seating, endless lines, and security checkpoints. I envisioned hours of peaceful reflection, with time to read my favorite book, do a bit of writing on my laptop, and take little catnaps under a cozy blanket, as beautiful autumn scenery rolled by outside my window.
However, God clearly had other plans. Not only was the gentleman from the waiting room on my train, he was in an assigned seat right next to me. His name was Donald.
Thankfully, the train was not full, so I quickly looked around for an empty seat and sat down in the row of seats right in front of Donald, hoping the conductor would not ask me to move to the seat number on my ticket.
Donald spent most of his time on his cell phone, which apparently had very poor reception. This made Donald talk even louder. What became clear, to all the passengers on that train car, was that he was on his way to see his brother in California, who was in the hospital.
During the early part of my journey, I enjoyed the company that day of a very nice lady, retirement age, that came on board at one of our many stops and sat in the seat next to me. We shared such similar life stories, it almost felt like we had always known each other. The miles and time flew by. The next morning, when she arrived at her destination and got off the train, Donald suddenly stood up and asked if he could come and sit by me. Reluctantly I said, “ok”.
We spoke for hours that day, sitting side by side. Surprisingly, his voice became soft and lower in volume as he told me about his brother, who was dying of cancer. He showed me the pictures of them, as kids. Donald and his brother were very close. They had loved collecting arrowheads and buckeye seeds in their native Ohio. We laughed at the stories he told about the adventures they had growing up. He cried when he said, “I hope I can make it there on time, before he dies”. He had promised his brother he would bring his ashes back home to Ohio and scatter them in all their favorite childhood places. My heart was deeply touched by the pain I could hear in his voice, and see on his face, because I knew what it felt like to be on a train, trying to get to a loved one who is dying. Forty years earlier, I had traveled by train, to see my Dad, who was dying from colon cancer.
As I spoke to Donald, I realized that I had almost missed this divine appointment, because I had been trying to avoid him. God stopped me in my tracks, to see and listen to a person in need. While we were talking, I remembered the three sample cards of Seeds That Bless that I had in my purse. “I have a word of encouragement for you Donald”, “I said”, as I handed him one of the cards. He read the words slowly, out-loud, as the tears began to roll down his face. “Let not your hearts be troubled. Trust in God” John 14:1. “I asked God this morning to show me that He still cares about me and my brother. Oh! I needed these words so bad. How did you know?”. Three little sample cards, printed up months earlier, were now in the hands of the one God intended then for. I was humbled to realize that God used me to plant seeds of hope and encouragement into Donald’s life.
Late in the afternoon, when we arrived at our destination, Donald gave me a big hug. Before we went our separate ways, he reached into the small paper bag in his coat pocket and handed me the buckeye seed you see pictured above. This very seed sits on my desk and serves as a daily reminder that inspires me to continue to make a difference in the lives of others.
That is why we created Seeds That Bless. One ‘Seed’ can be a reminder that God still cares, to keep going, to keep believing and trusting that God has a plan for their life.
This experience taught me that when we are outwardly focused, open to making connections with others, and plant words of hope into the lives around us, we can…and we will…change the world!
Hand to Hand, Heart to Heart.
Are you ready to make a difference in someone’s life?We look forward to hearing your story about your experiences planting Seeds That Bless.