The Annoying Seatmate

By Elizabeth Yancy

Photo by Dreamstime

Last fall I decided to take a train journey. I thought a quiet, peaceful train ride across the US would give me time for reflection on my recent retirement. I was looking forward to some reading and journaling about the trip of a lifetime I took last year to London, England. More importantly, I wanted time to work on the Seeds That Bless business idea that my son and I had been talking and dreaming about for the past five years. Retirement offered me the time to devote to this exciting project.
 
There was a gentleman I noticed in the waiting area of the train station. You could hear him above the small talk amongst a large crowd of passengers waiting for the arrival of their trains. His voice was loud and annoying. He moved from person to person, “Do you want to see some pictures?” If that didn’t get their attention, he would yell, “Do you know what this is?” – pulling what looked like a small rock from a brown paper bag in his coat pocket. I moved to different areas of the waiting room to avoid coming in contact with him. Please God, don’t let him be on my train!
 
Clearly God had another plan, because he made sure this gentleman and I were not only on the same train car together…but an assigned seat – right next to him. His name was Donald! 
 
We spoke for hours, sitting side by side. His voice became a low whisper 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." He had promised his brother he would bring his ashes back home where they grew up.
 
In my self-absorbed plans, I had almost missed this divine appointment to be a blessing to someone. Then I remembered the three sample cards of Seeds That Bless I had in my purse. “I have a word of encouragement for you today, Donald," I said, and handed him one of the cards. Tears began to roll down his cheeks as he read it out loud, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God” (John 14:1). “Thank you so much. This is just what I needed," Donald said. I asked God this morning if he still cares about me and now I know He does. Can I have one for my brother and one for my wife?” God is so good in how he works: Donald needed three cards and that’s just what I had.
 
Late in the afternoon we arrived at our destination. Donald gave me a hug before we went our separate ways. He reached into the little brown bag in his pocket and handed me a buckeye seed. That buckeye seed now sits on my desk and serves as a daily reminder that inspires me to make a difference in the lives of others. You see a seed, but I see fields.
 
The fields are people’s hearts and minds where we can plant these seeds of hope, comfort and encouragement. One seed can change someone’s life forever. When we choose to be intentional, to be outwardly focused, to make personal connections, and to plant words of hope, we can….and we will…change the world!
 
We all have daily, divine appointments with people. Seeds That Bless cards are a powerful tool that will connect you with others and change people’s lives. Connection gives purpose and meaning to life. What people will remember about you will be in the small acts of kindness, the miracles in your hands, and you saying to someone – I have a word of encouragement for you today.
 
Seeds That Bless