I love to travel! And today? I arrived in Baltimore, MD for a work event. Excitement sprinkled with anticipation started to present itself last night as I was packing the final items in my suitcase. Why? I was preparing for “intentional travel”. It’s the only way to fly! Or drive. Or walk.
This morning as I boarded the employee bus in the dark lot the tone by which I was greeted suggested that the bus driver hadn’t had his second cup of coffee. I sat surveying him and noticed that he was wearing a hat that said “US Marines Veteran”. There was my opportunity. As I got my bag and started to get off the bus I stopped, looked him in the eye and said “Thank you for serving Sir.” A genuine, humble smile crossed his lips as he said “You’re welcome.” I then noticed the young man walking in front of me was carrying a duffle bag that said “Army Reserves” and was wearing a camo hat with his last name on the back. I thanked that young man for serving as well and got another big smile. I made it through security, was headed to the train to take me to the concourse and noticed the woman beside me had an embroidered dog face on her bag. She was an airport employee and had all the items she’d likely need for the day stuffed in her bag. That dog face was a chance to strike up a conversation about her dog, something she obviously loved, and listen intently.
There was a time, only a few short years ago, where I felt all alone as I started a new chapter in my journey. It was in those dark days that two things happened. One? I learned to draw closer to the Lord. To talk to him as if He were in the room with me. To seek him for myself, not seek what others wanted to tell me about him. That’s where I found relationship. And it’s the relationship, not the religion, that sustained me in those trying times. And two? I learned the priceless value of a smile from a stranger. Of someone simply holding open a door, paying me a compliment or just acknowledging I existed. Well meaning people who knew me would say “One day at a time Kris”. Well, in the beginning? It was 15 minutes at a time. If I can get through the next 15 minutes? that was a mile stone. Often it was the kindness of a stranger that got me through that next 15 minutes when I felt all alone. I know the Lord took me through that season so I could now use my voice and platform to say “Never underestimate what a simple, intentional act of kindness can do for another.” You could honestly be saving someone’s life. It costs nothing to be kind, be engaged in a moment, or to encourage another.
I always pray before I leave “Lord, put someone in my path on this trip that I can speak life into. Help me plant a seed of hope, or water one that has already been planted.” It’s called the “Prayer of Jabez” and it’s powerful. He never fails to bring me “the one”. I travel with intention. The intention of leaving someone feeling better than when I met them.
I have included a short video below from my “Coffee with Kris” series. It’s a story of the last time I traveled, and the ones who were put in my path.
So often we wait on the “big thing” – we tweet, post and pray about the big issues. We sit and wait on that opportunity that we think will come along and allow us to change the world. And often in that waiting? We miss it. We miss what the Lord has called us to do on a daily basis. In the word it says “When you have done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto me.” If the Lord opens a door for you to solve world hunger, then by all means, walk through it! But until then? How about just buying someone at work you know it struggling paycheck to paycheck lunch? Or when you see the cashier who’s having a bad day, compliment her. Be intentional in your day to day interactions.
Whether you travel to Baltimore, or just down the block to the store, travel and live with intention and expectation my friends. It will take you places much further than the destination on your boarding pass. Places that touch your soul.