Several years ago, my son and I visited what would ultimately become his college. It was February, and the Minnesota air was a bone-chilling 8 degrees below zero, although the locals assured us they were having a “balmy” winter. Matt had been invited, as a scholarship finalist, to an event held to determine the final recipients. We travelled Thursday, had a fancy dinner with the Dean on Thursday evening, followed by “Light Roast” for the students to get to know each other.
Friday morning was filled with interviews for the students and parent meetings for the parents… to get to know one another and the campus personnel and professors.
We explored the Mall of America Friday evening, and headed to the airport Saturday morning to return home. We had taken a Southwest flight, and the Southwest terminal of MSP is much smaller and quieter than the rest of the airport. In the middle of the terminal, on a quiet Saturday morning, as far as air travel goes, stood a beautiful, black, shiny baby grand piano.
As we headed to our gate, I passed by, tempted to sit and play for a while. Our gate was right by the piano. I hesitated for a moment before deciding “why not?” Unsure whether they’d call security on me or not, I started quietly, and played a few pieces I knew well. I suddenly became aware of my son, who was quietly watching me, and didn’t want to embarrass him, so I stopped and took a seat in the terminal near the piano. The crowd who had gathered at the terminal applauded as I stepped away from the piano. Almost immediately, a red haired young man, about the same age as my son, approached and complimented my playing and asked if he could play, too. Of course he could. It wasn’t my piano any more than his. He asked why I quit, and I told him I didn’t want to embarrass my son. He looked at me bewildered and said, “why would that embarrass him??” He seemed timid and awkward, so I encouraged him to sit and play.
He played a couple little tunes, and then began to play a song that I knew well. As he began, sitting on the bench only a few feet from me, I exclaimed, “I KNOW that one! Can I play with you?” He invited me to join, and we broke into a thunderous round of “Jesus, Lamb of God, Worthy is Your Name… You are my All in All”…. and Kyle began to tear up. I gave him a quick, motherly hug. We played a few more tunes together and then I took my seat by my son, leaving Kyle to play a bit on his own.
As we lined up to board the plane, Kyle came over to us and asked if I could take our picture together with my phone and text it to him. He gave me his cell number and I texted it to him. Kyle said he was headed back home, somewhere in the Midwest. He didn’t give an indication of his story, but he seemed somber, and it made me sad. I told him how much I enjoyed playing with him and encouraged him to keep honoring God with his life. We boarded the same plane, where we both got off in Chicago to catch connections, never to see each other again.
I never got his story, but somehow always felt like he needed to see a bit of God that day. I did try to text his number once, just to connect and encourage him, but he never responded. I wondered to myself whether Kyle was put in my path in part to test whether I would make a statement for God. I left that encounter forever changed, humbled that God could use Kyle to make such an impact on my life. I prayed that I had made an impact on his as well, and prayed that he found God where he was.
To all of the Kyle’s out there, God sees you. God knows you. God is with you.
Be blessed today, my friends