Strangers on a Plane

There are really two types of people when it comes to airplanes: there are the talkers, and then those who would rather get a root canal than socialize with the person seated next to them.

Admittedly, I am the latter. Earbuds in, sunglasses on – I am a fortress. I am simultaneously praying for a) the plane not to go down, and b) my seat mate to not try to drum up small talk. Priorities, right?

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But I love flying, I really do. Riding in an airplane is always a bit of an adventure. You never know who you’ll be sitting by, and for a couple hours, you’re completely out of control, and unplugged.

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I was flying back to Ohio today from New York. And there are always a lot of emotions, seeing the intimidating city skyline of Manhattan slowly morph into the lush and fertile Ohio River valley. A sight that evokes feelings of home, feelings of familiarity, comfort, and slowness. It’s like time in Ohio mimics the winding river – things here just seem to lolly along, not rushing life, but taking it casually as it rolls along.

But as we were in the descent today, I saw something that made me catch my breath.

The whole ride, I had been asleep. In my own little closed off world – which was how I liked it.

But as I was packing up my things for an efficient deplaning process, out of the corner of my eye, I saw on the upper thigh of the young woman sitting next to me, the scars from where she had repeatedly cut herself long ago.

And in that instant, my heart broke into tiny little pieces for this young woman.

I continued my packing up, and, not being obvious or anything, I caught a look at this young woman’s face. She had a short pixie cut, jet black, and eyes that had this depth to them. Eyes that, honestly, I recognized – like my own. They were eyes that had seen pain.

And watching her get off the plane and continue on her way, I couldn’t help but to say a prayer for her.

On the way home, I couldn’t stop thinking about her. I felt so much guilt for being so wrapped up in my own seclusion that I missed an opportunity to connect with someone who quite very possibly could have used a friend. Or at least someone to talk to.

Not that I would have ever brought up her scars – I mean, I have more tact than that, people. But I would have talked about my blog and my history with anorexia. And I don’t know, you just never know how that will impact someone, and what it will spark in them to open up about.

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Sitting here tonight, I obviously have been quite effected by this woman.

I don’t know her story. I don’t know who she is or where she’s from or anything. I only know that she survived pain. And my heart has so much compassion for her.

Self-harm is something that a lot of people in the eating disorder community struggle with. And even though it isn’t part of my story, my heart breaks for those who have been moved to do so.

And who am I to judge, either.

Because quite honestly, anorexia is one giant scar. It is motivated from that same place of despair and quest for control.

I think about Jesus, and how broken His heart is to see His children hurting themselves. How He came and died for us, and we willing choose pain instead of embrace His love.

I just wanted to hold her hand and tell her that she’s worth His love. That she is so infinitely precious to the Father and that He would give anything — including the life of His Son — to take away that pain and that shame and that guilt. He already did.

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And as I sat there, thinking about all those things I wished I could say to her, I realized that those very same things could be said to me.

And to you, too.

We all have scars. We all have reminders of pain that we try to cover up.

But our scars tell a story. They remind us that we survived. That we overcame and healed.

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This blog – telling my story – that’s my scar. And it is radiant because He has redeemed me through it. He is the reason I survived. His glory shines through it.

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I wonder what she would say if I asked her about the story her scars tell.

I bet it would be quite the story of victory. Of healing and strength.

To this mystery warrior woman: I’m sorry that I didn’t engage with you. I’m sorry that I didn’t see the person right in front of me. I hope you know that your story is worth telling and being heard. And that I, for one, would have been honored to listen.

And your story is too.

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BBB: Because we’re all recovering from something. // For speaking/business inquiries: beautybeyondbones@yahoo.com

223 thoughts on “Strangers on a Plane

  1. I think God frequently arranges meetings and we frequently miss them. I seem to be most open to people on Sunday after Mass and then less and less as the week goes by. Good thing I get recharged every Sunday!

  2. Heart touching writing, pastor. I believe she might have cherished her quiet time as you did. The gift you can give her is to keep her in your prayers as a sister who has been there. God hears every word of our prayers and I believe God’s Holy Spirit will touch her heart and let her know. Prayers for you and your family! You are so observant and inspirational ! Thank you for sharing your gifts!

  3. I believe we all go through these times Caralyn, when we feel we have missed an opportunity to encourage someone, listen to a broken / hurting heart, or tell someone of the love of Jesus Christ, and the penalty and suffering that He paid for us.
    Once we feel we miss that opportunity, the enemy slyly attacks, or sometimes boldly attacks putting us down. Jesus has that covered too, as He gives us the Victory to move on.
    The major act that you did, was pray for her immediately, and then ongoing. Holy Spirit now takes your prayers, and He runs with them. He knows that young lady, where she is, all her past, and her hurts. He will be ministering to her now, and lead someone to her in the future. Prayer is powerful, and you offered that prayer, and Holy Spirit is working even now, for that young lady to hear about and know Jesus Christ.
    Honoured to know you Caralyn!
    Luv, 🌹❤️😘
    George

    1. that’s a really powerful perspective, George. YOu’re right – prayer is powerful. I need to just keep her in my prayers. The HS has got it handled. thanks for the encouragement. big hugs xo

  4. Amen! One reason why it’s so important to engage and tell our stories is because many people think they’re the only one. Everyone else in the whole world is “normal.” I’m the only one who has issues. I’m totally alone and there’s something wrong with me.

    I’m laughing here, but if you look somewhat “normal,” high functioning, put together, it’s twice as important. I’m laughing because I about fell over the first time someone accused me having it all together, of being “normal,” and it wasn’t until that instant that I realized people on the outside can’t see my brokenness, they have no idea how shattered I’ve been. I haven’t got scars that show.

    1. thanks so much friend. you’re right – connecting with others is so important. i feel the same! it’s nice to know that others are on the journey with us. thanks for stopping by. big hugs xo

  5. Don’t be too hard on yourself. We can’t always know who people are, saying your prayer is probably more than many have done ☺️

  6. You are helping this young woman by sharing this story. If not you, someone will help her, someone will share their story and listen to hers. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ. He well knows her story and recognizes the compassion you do have for her. Trust that another sister, mother, brother, friend, will approach her and offer love, understanding, and the chance to share stories. It will happen in His time and the place of His choosing. In the meantime, your story speaks to us all about the importance of being aware of those around us … and the many chances we have every single day to make a difference in someone’s life … or … have someone make a difference in ours. jan

    1. thanks Jan. What a kind thing to say. you’re right – we are all brothers and sisters. That’s an important thing to remember. thanks for your kind words. big hugs xox

  7. It was probably intended to happen just as it did. Of course there’s no way for us to know. Besides, you’re already doing so much. I’m sure if we started counting everything we ‘miss’, we’d end up with the whole world around us. 🙂

  8. I’m grateful you heard the Father and brought her before the Lord. Remember somethings are by fasting and praying. You did just that. And so let’s praise the Lord. I love you.

  9. Jesus’ broken heart over his children hurting themselves. That’s what sticks with me. And we have a million ways to inflict inner pain… All those in pain have my heartfelt prayers.

  10. If ever a director needed an Audrey Hepburn type, you would totally fit the bill. That picture of you with your sunglasses half way down your nose, that was so redolent of Hepburn. Pardon me for saying so, but you are amongst the more beautiful women in the world. In my humble opinion. Not trying to be creepy. Have a good night.

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

  11. I loved this entry so much. I have blogged about where I was. What I dealt with over the years. I know some felt sorry for me, but to be honest, I am a warrior! I am tough, strong, and yet soft and gentle all at the same time. I wear my armor but I know when to take it off peice by peice. Life is hard for us all. In different ways. We are all brave in different ways and we are all scarred in different ways. I am so glad that this woman affected you so. Hugs my friend!

  12. Jesus is fully present then, now and always. There is a holy appointment thing where opportunities to care arise. Call that an extroverts logic about reaching out and being with people.

  13. Well, Caralyn, first off – I’m glad the title wasn’t STRANGENESS ON A PLANE! Otherwise I might’ve had to get the defibrillator out again!

    I guess you wouldn’t like to be my seat mate on plane! I don’t always yammer away at people, but I try to find an opening and then talk about God, the Bible, archeology…anything that can get them thinking about God if they aren’t already.

    I don’t manage to do that every time I fly, but I make on effort. Sometimes I get a good response, sometimes they find the clouds fascinating! Sometimes I don’t say anything, but then a conversation starts just before landing and we both regret not conversing sooner.

    I was able to speak of God and eternity with a young Scandinavian girl years ago as I flew into Denmark en route to Scotland. I don’t know if it ever had an effect, but then that’s above my “pay grade.” Point is, I scattered some seed for God. I believe it was the start of something

    Your prayers for that young woman today are good. What you learned about striking up a conversation with strangers is also a help.

    I decided long ago that we piss and moan way too much in this world. Whenever I have a waiter or waitress who communicate with me instead of just processing me, I tell the manager. The other day the young lady at Bed, Bath, & Beyond wrapped up part of our purchase before putting it in the bag. I thanked her for the extra effort. Her tired, near-the-end-of-the-shift face suddenly brightened like she just got a second wind.

    Even if it’s just telling someone that they have a nice smile (which you do, by the way) I try to pay sincere compliments as often as I can.

    I’m not bragging about me; I’m just trying to point out how people are a lot lonelier than we suspect, that they can use a good word more than we think. While living in an amazing city, I think New Yorkers have to be some of the loneliest people on earth! So many people and so few connections! We can’t light the whole world, but we can light our part of it. It’s amazing how rewarding that can be!

    Everyone has their comfort zone. Talking with folks on flights is outside of yours. That’s fine. But if you want to change that, I know you have enough backbone to do it. Lord knows you’ve already done some heavy lifting!

    I was reading through my diary earlier today, checking on some things when I ran across my entry for 3/29/2017…the day we met up in Ohio. “I wasn’t sure what to expect, hoping neither of us would be disappointed. She breezed in, we smiled, she came right over and hugged me; said she felt like she was seeing an old friend for the first time in a while. She was there and full on. It was…great! We talked for about an hour before she had to leave to go on a walk with her mom. So intense, so bright, so alive and deliberate! I feel so blessed to make this connection! We joked, laughed, got serious, laughed some more…what a great friend to have made!”

    You had passed on an earlier opportunity to meet; it wasn’t yet time. When you felt comfy with a meet up, you seem to have gotten as much out of it as I did!

    You’ve come so far in your journey, I know that you will find that time to take another step, to not go into fortress mode on planes…or anywhere else. And I’m not meaning to burden you with an idea that you have a responsibility to engage people like that. It’s just that you’ll find it to be more rewarding than you can imagine. You got a taste of that on the flight; “If only I’d talked to her at the start instead of missing the opportunity.” It wouldn’t have just been about what you might have contributed to her but what you would have found yourself enjoying too!

    So my prophetess friend, here endeth the lesson. I am sure you’ve already saved lives through BBB. You’ve improved mine. And you continue to run a surplus for it!!

    1. Hahha strangeness on a plane. lol That’s so awesome that you’re able to sow those seeds for Him on planes – you never know the impact those convo have. That’s such great advice – just say what we feel! Such a powerful lesson. You are definitely good at that! Not bragging at all! Yes – it’s like the starfish lesson – it matters to that one. And gosh thank you for sharing that entry with me. Gosh I am so touched. That was such a wonderful meeting and I can’t wait until the nExt one – hopefully aight Julie and HOPEFULLY in NYC! Great lesson friend, thank you. Maybe on my flight back, I’ll take the plunge and strike up a convo!! 🙂 have a great night Jeff. Hugs!

  14. Next time ask her about her scars. Because, as you noted we all have them. We are all wounded in some way. We should not shy away from each others pain. Rather, we should reach out and embrace the wounded. In so doing we are embracing ourselves.

  15. Reblogged this on Ad Infinite-item and commented:
    Your story is worth the pain experienced when Jesus is at the center of your healing. Each missed opportunity to tell someone of it redoubles my sensitivity to the next willing ear He affords me. A beautiful example from Caralyn over at beautybeyondbones dot com.

  16. I have to confess to the same behaviour on a plane you favour. I just about lived in an aeroplane for my last ten years in Asia and getting away from those pressure cooker hasty meetings in one country then on to the next country the plane was my escape where I could find rest. I could also get some well needed sleep or a hasty scan of professional journals to underline sections of interest for my secretary in Singapore to put into quick read documents for a more intensive read when I got back to the office for a couple of weeks. Conversation was not always welcome, and there were times when your seat mate could be very disruptive. But occasionally there was someone of interest to talk with. You have a good heart to recognize those who need your prayers.

    1. Thanks Maria. I really appreciate you sharing it with your readers. I agree – we all have scars. And we all can be there for one another 🙂 thanks for stopping by. Hugs and love xox

  17. I don’t mean to come off as the lone wolf of all these comments. But aren’t there a lot of assumptions being made here? All that was seen were scares, which doesn’t say anything about where this woman was/is on her journey of healing. Is she currently in pain? You don’t know that, has she healed her pain, you don’t know that either. But to just assume a story based on scares that could be who knows how old isn’t quite fair to her. Or assuming she’s on pain. You don’t know that. Iv e referenced the book The Four Agreements before, one the agreements is Don’t Make Assumptions, when we do we create stories based on our experiences that may not be true for others (paraphrase of course) leading to a ripple effect of tunnel vision. I understand what you’re saying. When I’m on a plane I seldom tell people what I do for a living because I have no place to go I’m trapped on that plane. So like you i go on radio silence. However, when I see people drinking on that plane I don’t assume they have a drinking problem and offer my card. Again, I’m not trying to be the difficult one on here but maybe this woman was just fine.

    1. Thank you for this powerful perspective. You’re right, I shouldn’t make assumptions. And I definitely agree – having a drink on a plane doesn’t make one an alcoholic. I was basing my thoughts on the fact that she had cutting scars that seemed like they were 10+ years healed. That is all the information I had and I shouldn’t have jumped to any conclusions, because again..I don’t know her whole story. Thanks for this powerful reminder. I appreciate it. Hugs and love xox

  18. I should mention that I don’t mind ine or the other. I have flown too many times to remember. I have had my share of experiences and individuals. From funny to intriguing to disgusting. I think I’ve seen it all. I go with the flow. If people want to talk to me, I talk. If they don’t, then I don’t. I may start a conversation myself. But I can’t really say of I’m the chatty passenger or the quiet one. Maybe I’m both.

    For most part, I don’t remember the people I sat next to. As I said, too many flights to count. But there’s always someone you are going to remember for the rest of your life. I’m sure you’ll never forget this woman.

    I remember my flight when I moved to the United States. It was a memorable flight. We went through some nasty storms that ending up damaging the on-board radar and something else. We were basically flying blind with the ground directing the pilots. The gentleman next to me had been quiet the entire trip and I respected that. But when the turbulences got that bad and lighting was surrounding us, I started to fel bad for him. His knuckles were white as snow and he was grabbing the armrests for dear life. I also noticed that he was praying. I couldn’t help myself and had to talk to him. He could have been my father. I was in my just-passed mid-20s. He was scared to death of flying. And he still had two more connections to go through after that international flight that was going to last about 13 hours.

    I felt compelled to distract her. He started to tell me about his family. He was originally from Chile and he was going back home to Canada after some business trip. One thing took to another and we ended up talking about the Virgin Mary. He was a fierce devote of Her, as most Latin Americans are. But he had never heard of my favourite devotion: María Desatanudos (Our Lady Untier / Undoer of Knots.) I took out my prayer card and showed it to him. He was fascinated woth the story. I shared with him how I was so sure that devotion had gotten me my visa and pass to this country. He wanted to learn more. By then, the airplane was rattling like pots do at a busy restaurant. The storm had gotten worse. But this gentleman was completely absorbed in my story and relaxed. He asked if he could hold my prayer card for the rest of the storm. Of course, I let him. In fact, I let him keep it once we landed. He didn’t want to take it. I insisted. He needed it more than me at that point. I never sae or heard from this man again. But it made me feel good that I had been able to help him calm down. He was really in bad shape when the flight got shaky.

    We never know who we’re going to get next to us. But for a flitting moment, it might make an everlasting difference in our lives.

  19. Absolutely LOVED your post. There have been so many times I left a situation regretting that I didn’t take the step to say hi and hope to make an impact on a life that you can just tell is on the edge. It’s posts like this that give us courage the next time that situation comes up. Thank you! Love reading your thoughts.

  20. I am new to your blog. I love it because it is refreshing to hear you growing in your faith. My husband and I frequently talk to people on planes about God. It is a natural reflection of our beliefs. When you allow God to use you, He sets up the situations for you to speak. What I really wanted to comment on, was the girl. I will pray for her. We all need it no matter where we are in the journey. My foster daughter, doesn’t cut but she does pick at herself which causes scabs. She is 8 and we have overcome a lot, but realize there is much to come. It is an encouragement to hear from your perspective.

    1. Hey Niki! Thanks so much for your kind words about my blog. Yes, I need to be more open to letting God use me on planes! Thanks for sharing that. Sending big hugs. Hugs and love xox

  21. Thank you for sharing your story! I loved this phrase: “Eyes that, honestly, I recognized – like my own. They were eyes that had seen pain.”

  22. Beautiful post! You’re right…our scars remind us that we survived, overcame and healed! A scar is part of the healing process, a visual reminder that where once there was pain, we found strength to let it mend. It is a sign of victory and not defeat. Hope the mystery warrior woman feels the same too!

  23. Did you think that if you had had a conversation, that could have been helpful and loving? Sharing ‘our stories’ is good if we use them to comfort others. And if we listen to them! Just a couple of thoughts from an oldie! It is, after all, such a individualistic society, and Jesus’s society was one where people could’ve reached out more easily than we do here.

    1. Thanks Mari. That’s a great thought. Yeah, I would pray that it would have been helpful and loving! I guess we need to just let the Holy Spirit move us. I should be more open to that. Thanks for stopping by 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  24. I can relate to this so much. I also sit on a plane with earphones in praying no one speaks to me. Purely for my own selfish fear of flying. I don’t want to be removed from my self created protective bubble. We all miss opportunities to connect with people to offer our support and love. I find myself also offering out prayer in my head. I wish sometimes I just had the guts to get over my insecurities to offer out the news that Jesus is there for anyone who wishes to come to him. Thanks for sharing, have a blessed day.

  25. Thank you for sharing your experience. I also struggle with an eating disorder. I have since I was 13-years-old. I am now 47. I am STILL trying to find my way out of the tight constraints of bulimia and binge eating disorder.
    I have also been in that place you described. I’ve felt guilty over not seeing the struggle in the lives of others. I had a similar experience on September 11, 2001. Yup…9-11. I was on the train and sitting next to a woman who was struggling not to cry out loud. My heart broke and I wanted so desperately just to touch her hand and comfort her. I was afraid of how she would take it. Here I was…a total stranger. Yet, all I wanted to do was reach out and help. Instead, I took out a tissue and handed it to her. I felt a bit awkward in doing that but I felt worse that I didn’t do what I really wanted to. It took a long time for me to let go of that moment that passed me by. I learned a lot about myself that day. I searched my heart for ways I could do things differently. It’s hard to allow others to see our vulnerabilities especially when we don’t know the other people. Don’t beat yourself up :). Allow yourself to show that compassion and empathy to yourself. You are a beautiful person and a very gifted writer.
    Blessings,
    Carol

    1. Thanks so much Lyndy for sharing your story. I’m sorry that you can so personally relate but I’m glad we’re both embracing freedom! Wow that sounds like a powerful experience. You’re right – those opportunities are all around. Hugs and love xox

  26. Thank you so much for working on your blog and being a light and encouragement to do many people! 🙂 It’s awesome to see strong Christians who value God blessing others with their work <3

  27. A missed opportunity for sure but also a lesson of sorts and a reminder that at anytime, anywhere there is always someone looking for a kind word or two, an encouragement and enlightenment. Hold your head up and look for the next opportunity. God Bless………

  28. Thank you for sharing your very uplifting posts as usual , God bless you . I am one of those talkers on the plane. I can always strike up a conversation with someone . As usual , it’s the fact that I’m a woman who likes sports, lol. But as for the young lady’s scars, we all have them whether they are visible or not. I still have my scars from the operations that I had from so many years ago . I don’t look at them as something ugly, I look at them as the good Lord still has me around to see another day and for that I always give him praise.

    1. Thanks friend. Haha you’re a talker , that’s awesome. If we ever sat together,I’d take my earbuds out and have a convo 🙂 hehe thanks for sharing that – you’re right – they remind us that we’re here – we survived. God is good. Hugs and love xox

  29. Opportunities missed… I am reminded of the final Narnia Chronical book by C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle. If my memory is correct, when Aslan calls for the children, one (I’m not sure if it is Susan or Lucy) has “grown up too much” and does not respond to the beckoning of the Wardrobe to return to Narnia. Some events occur because of her absence. When she does eventually enter the Wardrobe, Aslan repremands her that because she was not present those events cannot be changed. Sins of Omission are what we pray to be forgiven for, when we miss an opportunity. We probably have more of those than Sins of Commission. Guilt is not the issue, but being more open to opportunities in the future. -Oscar

    1. Thanks Oscar. Yeah, I’ve actually never read that book! I’ll have to read it. Sounds pretty powerful. You’re right – open to opportunities. Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

      1. Time to finish grilling salmon for dinner… 2 theatre reviews that are a week over-due to write. Good to be busy. – Oscar

  30. I read this book once, where a character had these beautiful golden scars woven into his body. His friend asked about them and he explained how scars are a testimony, they portray the beauty of redemption, and they prophesy of hope for others in the same type of situations. Show your scars, they give the world hope. Thank you for writing this. 😊

  31. I love your heart of compassion towards others…Thanks for your words of life to all who read and being a light for Jesus to shine through:)

  32. I love your tender heart, too and so does God. I think this experience was a lesson (duh) but so often, we miss what the Spirit is saying. Our mission as Christians is to impact earth w/the Kingdom of God. He showed you an opportunity that you will not miss next time. I learned the hard way to spot these moments and carpe diem. I’m sharing an experience I had w/2 different women on airplanes (see
    http://healingwriter.com/2016/10/15/not-hearing-god-go-another-way) bec they turned out to be fantastic ministry opportunities. Nothing is wasted, grasshopper LOL. Abba is smiling at you tonight.

    1. Aw Kathryne, thank you so much! I am seriously so touched by your generous words. That’s such a powerful way to put it: impact earth with the kingdom of God. I love that. Thanks for sharing that. Hugs and love xox

  33. This is the first time I visit your blog, Ana, so I had no idea of your existence before, let alone your battle with anorexia. I can’t even begin to imagine what a nightmare that must be to live with, but I do know someone in my close family circle and dear to my heart who has also been through it and is now doing very well. I hope you have come through on the other side and that you will find the strength to stay there and I am sorry about your missed opportunity on the plane. Still, this lady has touched you in some way and has spoken to you in a silent manner which you alone understood, so I am sure that chance meeting was for a reason and will not be wasted. All the best to you.

  34. I’ve been in the same position where I really want to talk to a stranger because they seem like they need it. Then I didn’t have enough courage to do so, and they stay in my mind. I also make a prayer for them. Great post.

  35. Thank you for sharing this. I’m sure this has happened to me more than I know. Hopefully, this will give me a kick in the pants to notice people around me who are hurting and I can help.

  36. First, I wanted to say thank you for visiting my new blog today. I appreciate it, and your presence there brought me here. And wow! What a fantastic blog! You have a great writing voice that makes your content shine. And what a fantastic message. Thanks for bringing me here!

  37. I think you care too much. You get yourself too emotionally involved in other people. A person cuts. So what? That’s a choice. You think you can pass all of this hurt onto your Jesus, or yourself, but why?!? These are their CHOICES. I think a man (or woman) in life can either choose to live, or be lived. I feel sorry for you feeling sorry for others. But, hey, I don’t really care.

    1. Cuts are a sign that someone hurts. We all make wrong choices, sometimes we need help with the consequences. I don’t feel sorry for your lack of care, I’m not judging. But me? I feel depressed that people feel the way you do.

      1. I still believe it’s a choice. I’ve met plenty who cut. Bedded by them. Walked by them. Colored beside them. I would be one to judge if I were you. I have put the knife to my own throat. Didn’t cut it. I have tried other sources of suicide. One actual, real failed attempt. Have you self-harmed? Or are speaking as most hypocrites do, in third person deity?

  38. Nice words.
    But that is not me. I hate flying.
    Actually I dislike travelling in general, but especially flying.
    It is not that I an scared of flying, I’m just terrified of crashing.

    But riding an aircraft should not be an adventure. It should be as boring as possible. Take off, hours of boredom, landing is the perfect flight. Excitement would be an engine catching fire, a wing falling off, plummeting in a fireball, stuff like that are all exciting, but best avoided, even for the worlds biggest adrenaline junkie. Boredom is better.

  39. You know what is WILD I was recently on an airplane to the west coast from the Midwest and had one of the most fruitful conversations on my ride. It could have been horrible considering I had a middle seat but my seat-mates and I talked nearly nonstop for 5 hours. We discussed family , faith , relationship , tv , movies, and food. The best thing was we all represented very different people and age groups. With all this said, God puts us in places on purpose. Even in planes. It may not always be a talk show panel discussion every time BUT even a greeting could rock someone’s world!!!

    So glad that girl captured your attention. That prayer could have been just what she needed for strength for that day.

    -JV

    1. Oh wow! That’s an incredible story! I’m so glad you had that encounter. I love talking with people who all share different world views and beliefs. It is really stretching. You’re right- even a greeting could make a huge difference in someone’s day. Thanks again for all the reading you’ve done here today! Have a great rest of your weeekend! Hugs and love xox

  40. Thanks for giving me another perspective to scars – testimony to survival, victory and healing. This experience you recount reminds me that we must learn to step out of our self-made cocoons because you never know whose life you will brighten.

  41. I look at John 4, the woman at the well. Jesus kept her interested and off balance with startling statements. I pray for something startling to hook the person with. If God gives me something, I use it, if not, I can read my book in peace. You have the heart for it.

  42. As I was reading this, the thought came to me, “You did the best thing you could do, and that was to pray for her.” It reminded me of something St. Bridget said also, “God does not love a queen more, than He does the lowliest of servants.” When you prayed for her you were being the “lowliest of servants” You gave to God for her the thing he will most surely honor, and that was your heart and prayers, not your words. If God would have wanted you to speak to her, He would have let her begin a conversation with you.

    Most of the time in my private life, I do not speak unless I am called to by someone. If they need to talk I am here to listen. I think at times we do want to jump in with our words, stories, etc…. Making ourselves kings and queens of every situation. That may not be what that person needs. We can always be confident they need our prayers, to a most loving God. I think you did the right thing, most of all having the love and compassion for her.

    Her scars also turned you towards God and that is never a bad thing. It only proves to me you are so willing to be His most humble servant. For that dear heart, you shall one day wear many crowns. Love you and God Bless, SR

    1. Thanns so much SR, for this thoughtful response. Yes there is power in prayer for sure. I think you’re so right – God will lead us to do what He needs us to do. And sometimes that’s just prayer. Thanks for your kind encouragement. Hugs and love xox

  43. Hey there! I love your post. It’s truly heartfelt, and I feel like I’m sitting on the plane right beside you.
    Thanks for checking out my blog! Let me know what you thought, and if you would change anything. : )

  44. Scars are a beautiful part of our stories, making us richer for having them. Scars scream that God gave enough grace to be alive with them. They scream, “The enemy effected me but God’s love won and I am here!” Love you, beautiful! Hugs! ❤❤❤

  45. Beautifully written. This is something I need to remind myself often too – to be more mindful about people around me, to hear their stories, and share mine if they’d love to hear it too, and maybe in that way they would get a glimpse of Jesus’ goodness in and through my life.

    Keep shining for Jesus! 😊

  46. If anything, she stood out to you enough for you to have your eyes open. Who knows, maybe God wanted you to notice, so that perhaps when there is next time, you’re prepared for it. I think, even if you weren’t able to talk to her directly, your heart is still there, and your message in this post is open to anyone who reads it. : )

  47. I had a similar experience a couple years back. Being a night manager at a motel, you come across your share of characters even in a small town (maybe especially in a small town?), this one evening this girl and her grandmother came in and got a room, and there’d been a bunch of people coming to the room so 11 rolled around and I went out to remind them it was quiet time and time for visitors to be leaving. She opened the door and one of the first things I noticed were the scars all up her arm. And I was kind of just speechless which is probably my saving grace because I really don’t know if I’m a tactful person, haha. Anyway, after an awkward moment of her under-the-influence hitting on me and my showing her my wedding band I said what I’d come to say and said goodnight. And that was it. Later I wrote, (thank God for blogs):

    I caught a glimpse of brokenness.

    What I remember most vividly was that she was right-handed; all the scars were on her left arm.

    “Nice to meet you,”

    It only took the momentary glance that I got as she reached out to shake my hand to notice the dull red lines covering the inner side of her forearm from the wrist all the way up to the elbow.

    Brokenness.

    I haven’t met many people in person who have or do self-harm–I certainly had never before seen the aftermath firsthand; it blew me out of the moment. I’m not saying it shocked me, per say. It gave me a fresh dosage of the reality of what I’m supposed to be doing here. By here I mean alive.

    Because when it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter how much you talk, write or think about it. You won’t ever understand the brokenness of people until you see it first hand.

    And you know, I still think about her (obviously, because I’m telling this story) and wonder what her story was – I’m sure I’ll never know. But the truth is all the thinking and wondering or blog-writing I can do won’t change that I met that brokenness and I spoke nothing into it–or maybe I spoke something I never knew I did, but either way, the moment passed and all the words (“Say ALL THE WORDS!!! ….Say…ALL the words..?”) there are to say don’t amount to anything, the only thing that amounts to anything is gracious love given every moment of both our awareness and unawareness because you’re right: we all have scars, and some scars are obvious, but most aren’t. Many are dressed up and hidden away because being seen was what induced them in the first place. I met a horrible man at that job, an older guy who drank and drugged away every penny he’d gotten and racked up room bills which his mother in the end had to come to settle in spite of getting deals for knowing the owner. When he came around you knew it was because he was binge drinking and his parents had kicked him out till he was sober again. I literally detested the sight of the guy. But one night he came into the office and I don’t really remember how we got there, but he just broke down crying as he started telling me about all the abuse he had been subject to as a child and my heart just went into a million pieces. I know, not a very helpful trait for someone working nights at a cheap motel in a small town 😛 But I’ve never viewed him the same way since, I’m not sure I’ve viewed anyone the same way since some of the experiences I had working there as Father was just immersing me in a love baptism during that time.

    Holy crap, give a guy a keyboard and he’ll type all night! haha..I probably could go on all night about those kinds of experiences.

    I would say, love always. But “Love always,” becomes redundant with Christ living in us, and us in him, because “Love always,” is the deepest part of his nature <3

    So perhaps instead, 'Father give us new revelation of your love for your children in us'

    1. Thanks so much for sharing this Carson. Wow what a powerful encounter with that guy. You were a walking angel for him:) and what a powerful entry from your journal. I’m honored you’d share that with me. Thank you. Love always. Amen. Hugs and love xox

  48. Beautifully written. It made me think about all that I’ve been through. You have a good heart and I know your prayers reached that girl on the plane. I hope blogs like yours will help change lives of people who are in need of a guiding light. I’m happy I read this blog today, especially because I’ve had some recent struggles in my quest for happiness. Thank you for this and blessings to you.

  49. Beautiful post. I have an image that comes to mind most often in Adoration, of the risen Jesus, dressed in white robes as he is often portrayed. I can still see the holes in His glorified hands and feet…and when He embraces me, I can feel, through the cloth, the criss-cross of scars on his shoulders and back from the scourging. They are, in retrospect, like badges of honor, marking His perseverance and faithfulness to the Father.

    Also, I too struggle with ministering in the here-and-now — with seeing Christ in the person right in front of me, disrupting my silence and theirs, and being Christ to them. It is so easy to be self-absorbed; so hard to emerge and engage and heal. Lord, help us to pour ourselves out in love!

  50. Hi BBB,

    I pray the Lord open up many doors to personally minister to those women with bear burdens and scars. Safe travels to you. Gary

    On Thu, Jul 27, 2017 at 4:04 PM BeautyBeyondBones wrote:

    > beautybeyondbones posted: “There are really two types of people when it > comes to airplanes: there are the talkers, and then those who would rather > get a root canal than socialize with the person seated next to them. > Admittedly, I am the latter. Earbuds in, sunglasses on – I am a f” >

  51. I prefer the train because people actually talk. The train is a mystical American experience. I’ve had dinner with complete strangers in the dining car, met fascinating people late at night in the lounge car, unlike the ugly, silent, mute souls who inhabit airplanes. Peace be the Botendaddy my young beauty

      1. Get off the plane, kid: pay extra for the sleeper berths on Amtrak. Meals are included, there’s a shower in the car and four bathrooms, a conductor to wake you and tell you about meal times, you can lock your door and weirdos won’t pay for the sleeper car, so it’s safe. Big, gooey smooches to you too, BBB

      2. All of my usual kidding aside, I think you telling your story is helping many people with their recovery and you are a beautiful soul for having the courage to speak out. Peace be the Botendaddy

  52. This reminds me of someone I met on an airplane. I casually struck up a conversation because I thought I should, and I found out that she was actually moving to the country we were flying to to join a missionary organization to help girls who have been sex-trafficked. I was going for a shorter time of course, but it was just odd because we were really similar, and yet completely strangers. We prayed for each other before exiting the plane, but now I regret not having a way to keep in touch. It’s funny how God will bring some people into your life for just a moment.

  53. That was something took my heart to a different world. I feel we should treat everyone with kindness even though we don’t know them cause we don’t know what they’re going through. Reading your blog i made my mind to be kind to every person in the world. And one day no body would harm themselves for anything. ❤️😇

  54. Hi there! This post really moved me. Next time I go travelling I gonna be open to anyone I would be seated near. I really like to connect with random people that I met. Please, don’t be hard on yourself about not talking to that woman. Treat this experience as a lesson to be learned for the next times! I’m so happy that you overcame your problems and that your smile is so big and shiny!
    P.S Thanks for checking out my blog! I’m glad you liked it.

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