A guest post written by Robert Nafie from Arcadia, California
Have you ever casually listened to conversations around you, but that don’t include you? Most often we’re engaged in our own activities and our own thoughts, so it isn’t something that happens intentionally. Well, it happened to me recently while sitting at the airport waiting for a flight. Of course, we’re instructed to arrive in plenty of time, which means that after breezing through security there is ample time to wait. If it’s a popular flight, you’ll find yourself seated in close proximity to people you don’t know and within earshot of a number of conversations.
On this occasion I was eating a sandwich but was aware that someone two seats over was engaged in a serious phone conversation. At the end of the somewhat lengthy call she gave a big sigh and a shrug of the shoulders. It seemed natural to quietly ask if everything was all right. While I was holding to the spiritual understanding that everything was all right, my question opened the door and she explained that she was on her way across the country to attend a funeral. Her plane ticket was not an easy expense for her, and the time away from work was coming at exactly the wrong time. She was going to lose an important account that she had worked so hard to develop. She shared that she wasn’t even a believer in funerals, and frankly resented going.
I listened and wondered how I could respond in a way that would bring comfort and peace. I remembered a hymn that I found helpful:O longing hearts that wait on God Through all the world so wide; He knows the angels that you need, And sends them to your side, To comfort, guard and guide.
When she asked me what I would do, I responded that as a Christian Scientist, I had come to rely on the statement, “Whatever it is your duty to do, you can do without harm to yourself.” She asked, “Where did you hear that?” That led to a conversation about health researcher and the founder of the Christian Science church, Mary Baker Eddy, and her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She said, “I could really use that, if it were true!” I said, “See for yourself,” and jotted down christianscience.com on the corner of my napkin. She seemed much happier as she headed toward her gate.
Everyday conversations with people can lead to giving “…crumbs of comfort from Christ’s table.” A long exchange isn’t necessary, and sometimes…only a “crumb” is needed.