I’ve been writing this in Belfast City Airport waiting for my flight to Manchester Airport so I guess talking to people about Jesus has increased somewhere in my consciousness. The flight was called, I closed my mac and went down to board. I’d hoped for a seat alone where I could get back to writing this. It was looking good, I was on the back row but was soon joined. The lady sat down and straight away asked if I was going from home or going to home. I hummed a hesitation and said both, my home is in Sheffield and I’ve been home for Christmas in Ireland, You? She was Australian and in England on Holidays and nipped over to Belfast to see a childhood friend. Any thoughts I had about writing were now lost. We found out each others employment (I said I worked for the Church of England...she moved on from that quickly), marital status, best holidays, worst read. Her kids becoming teenagers, jobs we wished we’d applied for, best airline to fly with. You get the idea, random chit chat.
I then said I’m very impressed you’ve come all this way to then spend one day in Belfast with a childhood friend and you do this every year, what the story?
The conversation got a lot deeper as she shared about difficulties each of them had at various points over the years and the other played the role of a life coach each time. I asked how did this years life coaching go (she’d shared very honestly about difficulties) and she said things they both had committed to do and they have given each other 9 months to sort things out. She then shifted the focus to me and asked if I had a life coach.
I said I’d learned a new word the day before. Sonder, the realisation that everyone else’s life is every bit as complex as your own.
It seemed like a word she and her friend would like (she did), I went on to say I’d had a few stabs at having a life coach over the years and because some of the stuff she’d shared had overlap with my own story I shared how my relationship to Jesus had actually been the best coaching I could have had and explained how I’d come to faith and how God had coached me. The conversation went on to how good money is to be made at kennelling dogs and how to get to the hotel at the airport, skiing holidays and hopes for the new year.
The flight was getting close to Manchester and I asked, can I go back to your comment about life coaching with your friend. Do you read anything that helps coach you? She relied on gut instinct. I said well can I make a suggestion, when you get back to Sydney get on amazon and order The Message Bible, early on in it is a part called John. read a bit every day and read it like its your coach. If it starts to make life connections or you like the sound of Jesus as coach then get in touch with friends of mine (I gave her the details) who work close to central Sydney. We landed and I don’t expect our paths will cross again.