I love traveling, especially by air. Since the time I was old enough to travel alone, I’ve rarely said ‘no’ to a chance to get on a plane.
The thing about your seat is that you’re right next to a person you might never talk to in ‘real’ life. They could be your new best friend or your exact opposite. And you don’t really know right off the bat, because plane conversations have their own entire set of social rules.
There’s always that weird mumbled “Hey, uhh, that’s my seat…” as both of you rearrange your 19 square inches of space to get past each other. If you’re in the window seat, you’re the guy who makes everyone stop while they get up and make room for you. Aisle seat? Don’t get too comfy, because Window Guy will be there as soon as you set up your laptop. Once you’re all seated, then comes the deciding ten seconds: will one of you say hello? One “So, do you live in (Insert City Name) or you just traveling?” could be the difference between a flight of silence or of conversation. But in that moment, the awkward introductions that we use to size each other up, God challenges me more than I’d like.
I’m a cradle Catholic – everyone in my family’s always been Catholic. From my family to Life Teen to my Catholic university education… I’ve kind of lived in a Catholic bubble. So when God asks me to step outside that comfort zone and be Catholic to someone who isn’t, it’s scary. Because that new-plane-friend conversation pretty quickly gets around to asking, “So what do you do for a living?” I could say I review movies, or that I work on a website, or a number of vague things that don’t involve the word ‘Catholic.’ But that moment is a chance to be a witness, even if it’s simply showing that Catholics are real people.
Your ‘exit row’ of evangelizing might be a cafeteria. It could be a locker room, or a bus ride, or even a workplace. But odds are, there’s a place in your life where it’s not ‘safe’ to be Catholic. Well, guess what? God’s ready to challenge you right in that spot. It doesn’t mean you should walk into your next football practice handing out Bibles (although that would be gutsy); it simply means that if you ask, God will give you chances to share your faith.
Pray for opportunities, and know I’ll be praying for you in your exit row.
Keep your tray tables up.