We stood in the airport together. He was returning to the West Coast after a few days of sanity in his own neck of the woods. Things had recently imploded in his marriage and he was sadly sorting through the shards of shattered relationship.
It is a difficult process for anyone but this guy . . . a prince of encouragers . . . an others minded person . . . he was keeping his head above water and trying to find something solid to stand on.
Most of us come home in the hard times. Home to simpler, happier times, before life gets so complex.
The check-in attendant greeted Russ and took his bag to weigh it.
He was taking something back with him that he didn’t bring home. I am not sure what it was but he had a typically Russ solution. He reached down and took off his shoes, a beautiful pair of nearly new, “Sandro Comfort gels” and handed them to me with a big smile.
From previous days of abundance, he knew good things . . . well enough to possess them without being possessed by them. There was this crazy look in his eyes as he watched for my reaction . . . the kind of look that a person gets when they rediscover a forgotten but proven path to freedom.
The practice of Russ’ life has been to bless people with the things that you can’t take with you. It’s a time-tested, fail-safe remedy, getting our eyes off of ourselves and our own need to see others that we can bless. The more I think of me the less I think of God and the more I think of God the less I think of me.
The Sandro’s are my favorite pair of hand-me-downs. I have walked several prayerful miles in Russ’ shoes. I smile every time I wear them.