A few years ago, I had the amazing privilege to meet BJ. He was sitting in the row in front of me on a flight and made sure to welcome us the minute we took our seats. It didn’t take long for BJ to make everyone around us aware of how excited he was to be on this plane.
His voice was loud, his exclamations seemed a bit child-like for a man his age, and his stuttered words made it difficult to completely understand him.
But one thing was unmistakable to me – his passionate embrace of the magnificent.
As we rose into the sky he clapped and bounced in his seat. His eyes were wide as he turned to the man sitting next to him and exclaimed, “The clouds are huge!”
That’s when the nudging on my heart started. This gentle prodding to ignore the task oriented part of me wanting to get my work done. A rush-like whisper tripped over those boundaries I’d erected to keep my thoughts focused and orderly.
Embrace this moment, Lysa. Notice him. Notice Me. This is a better use of this time. This is a Best Yes.
Everyone else on the plane that day looked grumpy and annoyed and put off by their travels.
But not BJ.
He saw what no one else did. We were in a fast moving tube, taking off from the ground, flying through the clouds, being transported from one place to another many, many miles away in a matter of minutes. Minutes! Not days or weeks or months but minutes. Oh, what would people a hundred years ago have thought of this feat?
And there we all sat, grumpy. Not even bothering to look out at the clouds and notice.
We’d lost our passionate embrace of the magnificent.
I wanted to rush through this part of my trip so I could get on with what? Rushing to get my luggage? Rushing to get a cab? Rushing to get to a meeting in some stale board room? No wonder I’m so bored. Pun intended.
Not BJ, though. He enjoyed every second of that flight.
And then when we landed, BJ could hardly contain his excitement. He clapped and whooped and jumped into the aisle of the plane. When he spotted his mom waiting for him at the end of the jetway, he got even louder pumping his arms into the air telling everyone that was his mom.
“My mom! My mom! Right there – there she is – that’s my mom!” BJ cheered.
His mom’s face reddened but kept the sweetest, gentlest look as she threw her arms around her man boy. She sweetly pressed her finger to her lips signaling him to quiet down just a bit.
That’s when I reached her. With a lump in my throat and tears cresting my eyes I touched her shoulder, “Your son is amazing. Really, really amazing.”
Not only did he remind me how to embrace the magnificence of each moment, but also what a gift he is to everyone who will stop and notice.
Some would say BJ has special needs. I understand that. So does one of my kids. But I wonder if we are kind of wrong in giving that label to someone who has such capacity to not lose the wonder of life.
I wonder if I was really the one with special needs that day. After all, I needed BJ way more than he possibly needed me.
As I reached BJ’s mom, I wanted to tell her more of my story. I wanted to throw my arms around her and tell her about the time a teacher told me my child was no longer a good fit for their school with “test standards to uphold.” I wanted to tell her about how I cried myself to sleep that night feeling the deepest rejection I’d ever known.
I wanted to tell her how I got up in the middle of the night and walked to my child’s bedside and begged God to make the connections work in his brain so he could read and excel and have the kind of future I desperately wanted for him.
I wanted to tell her how I got mad at God and questioned Him.
I wanted to tell her. Because I knew she’d understand. She’d get me. I’d get her.
But as I touched her shoulder all I could get out was how amazing her son was. And then my throat did that lockdown thing and I knew better than to stand there and drip tears and snot on her. So, I walked away. And though I was crying, I was smiling.
Her son has such a rich, wonderful purpose on this earth. His joy ministered deeply to me that day. God assured my heart that He has a wonderful plan for all His children. All!
God used him.
And God is still using BJ. This happened over 5 years ago and I’m still thinking about him and thanking God for the honor of meeting him.
This man boy who I’m convinced has the world’s greatest gift for teaching others about joy and the passionate embrace of the magnificent.
BJ lives the message of my new book, The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands. If you feel like you’ve set your life to the rhythm of rush and wish things could be different, you can grab a copy here.
We are helping fund an initiative that will train churches to better support families with amazingly awesome kids like BJ. Click here to learn more about the initiative.
I’m so excited to help them reach families who desperately need to know they aren’t alone. Thank you for helping me help them.