The flight was called and I boarded quickly and got comfortable. Since I was first class and plagued by a limp, I was first to board. Each passenger passed me with little interest and found their seats in the cavernous cabin.
As we reached cruising altitude, I informed the flight attendant I was tired and didn’t want dinner. But I did want to sleep, asking her to awaken me about 15 minutes out of DFW. I moved to the window seat, turned off all the over-head lights and looked at the darkness below.
Suddenly the light above the aisle seat came on. “You looked like you could use a little company.” It was the Corduroy Man.
“What, What,” I stammered. “What are you doing here? Where did you come from?”
“Oh, I have been here all along,” he responded in a cheerful voice.
“What do you want from me,” I inquired in a trembling voice.
“Well, I thought we could visit a little while, you seem like a man with a lot on his mind.”
“I don’t know who you are, mister, but I suggest you find another place to sit,” I said, trying to keep my hands from shaking.
“You sure you don’t have any questions?” he asked. His blue eyes sparkled as they gazed directly at me. Suddenly the air seemed to fill with the scent of vanilla. For a moment I thought of my mother’s kitchen, when she was making a banana pudding.
Moments passed. Finally I said, “Who are you?”
“Well, actually I am a freelancer. I go where the work is,” he continued.
“And may I ask just what kind of work is that?”
“I go about the world helping or supporting people. People who are poor, sick, hungry or lonely. Those who can’t or won’t help themselves. Who have nowhere else to turn.”
“What does this have to do with me? I am barely able to take care of myself. What can I do for you?”
“You are a writer, maybe you can get the word out that I am here to help.”
“What do I say?”
“Tell them that someone loves them deeply. Despite all the heartache that life has to offer. That He is available to listen, care for them, and never ever forget about or give up on them no matter what.”
“Please, what can I do? I am an old man. I can’t see very well, can’t hear at all and wobble when I walk.”
“All that is true my friend, but life is like a race. And you still have a distance to go. Keep your head up, focus on the finish line and the last few yards, give it all you have. And you will have finished life’s race and be victorious.
“So I win? Right?”
“That means that Love wins.”
“That sounds like you are talking about God,” I said. “Are you saying you are God?”
“Oh no my dear boy, but I do work for him in a way. I go where there is much misery in the world and try to give the people hope and assurance that God loves them tremendously.
“Have you been doing this long?” I ask.
“Oh yes, for some time now,” he responded.
“Where did you come from and why were you at the airport?”
“I came back from California where there are many hopeless people, and now I am on my way to New York. It is going to be cold and dark there next week and folks will need me. There is nothing like coldness and darkness to bring out the fear and hopelessness in people. And when there is fear and hopelessness that is when I am at my best.”
“But what about all the people that are still suffering in California. Have you just abandoned them?”
“Oh no dear boy, I have thousands of partners so to speak. We all work for the same Master. We are kind of like a union. In fact, the Master’s partners are everywhere just waiting to be asked to go to work.”
“I don’t understand why this is happening” I said
“You carry your Bible when you travel, don’t you?”
“Then read Hebrews 13 and 1 Peter 1:12.”
“Sir, Sir! Wake up! The seat belt sign is on and we’ll be landing in 15 minutes.” I just sat there as everyone got off the plane.
“Sir, is there something wrong, everyone has left the plane. Is everything okay?” I got up and slowly moved toward the door.
“Sir! Is this your grey tobaggon cap, you left it in the seat.” I reached out and took it. It smelled just like vanilla
Durhl Caussey writes a column read across the country. He may be reached at this paper or firstname.lastname@example.org.