As I get on the plane I realize I’ve got the exit row – you can imagine the sacrifice of a 10 hour flight without it when I’m 6’3”. The guy beside me looks interesting: he’s in his 20s and dressed in raggedy cargo pants and a black t-shirt with a few additional metal pieces.
I had tried calling my sister while in the airport but I couldn’t figure out foreign pay phones. I ask him to borrow his iPhone. He offers it and I get through to voicemail. I leave a quick message.
As the plane takes off, we get to talking. He seems kind of surprised to see somebody his own age dressed as a priest. He didn’t have a grudge against religion but he’d known a lot of religious hypocrites in his life. He was on his way home from a tour with a rock band; he played bass. That gave us 3 things in common: we both played electric bass, we both came from the same city, and we both hate religious hypocrisy.
We ended up talking for an hour or two as the plane sailed over the North Atlantic. I learned a little about music and he opened up toward the idea of faith. It was a step for him, not some huge conversion. How much would have been lost if I gave into my initial temptation to judge him?