Last night on the plane back from Tampa I had the unusual experience of boarding pass A8 on Southwest. This meant that only a handful of others would have their choice of seat ahead of me. 

As I got on, I almost took a window seat on the front row, but as I started to settle in I thought about the fact that my computer bag would have to be placed in the overhead bin and I like to keep the essential equipment handy. So, I moved back another six rows, in the opposite side, and took my window seat to watch the sunset as we flew.

A nice couple sat down, having just visited their daughter in Ft. Myers and taken in a couple of Spring Training games. Eddie had gone to see the Yankees earlier in the day and still had his NY hat and golf shirt on.

We didn’t talk much until the last 40 minutes of the flight but we made up for lost time. Turns out they have five grandkids; we have four. Two of their grandkids are “surrogate” members of the family – literally!

Their daughter signed on with an agency and ended up carrying twins for a wealthy but heartbroken couple in New York who decided after multiple miscarriages to seek another alternative.  So, Bethany contracted with an agency who put her in touch with this couple and now she’s best friends with the woman who couldn’t carry in her womb the babies she now carries in her arms. 

Well, next thing you know I’m crying tears of joy over their story because our story is quite similar. Our oldest son and his wife were married for seven years and wanted to have a child but there were some difficulties involved.  

Chad and Amy looked into adoption but there were challenges and so they started investigating surrogacy. They also started working extra jobs and saving money.

Enter the younger of our two nieces, Jana, and her best friend, Lareigh. We had known Lareigh since she was 12 or 13. If you’re a friend of someone in the Johnson family, you might as well be part of the whole family, so we always loved Lareigh. 

I won’t take time to fill in all the details here, (for the full story click here A Love So Deep) but Lareigh ended up volunteering to carry a child for Chad and Amy. There were contracts drawn and some financial compensation was a part of the deal. But on that day, May 29, 2014, when Reston Adams Johnson arrived the only transactional exchanges that occurred were those sealed in love.

It was simple and profound that day and remains so almost three years later.

As I told my new friends on the airplane, “this world has a lot of messed up problems but, every now and then, God shows up in an unexpected way and says I’m still here. And people still crave good relationships with other people.”

I don’t know if they needed to hear it as much as I needed to, but it was a cool moment.  Oh, and I wasn’t supposed to fly back until this morning but an unexpected change of plans got me on the flight last night and God let me know He knew where I was!