Weather was the main topic of conversation on the news and in the grocery stores these past weeks. It affected everything from heat and light to travel and miracles. Yes, I said “miracles.”
The ticket to Charlotte was for Thursday. A monster of a storm was forecast to begin on Wednesday around midnight. Sure enough, Wednesday morning a cold rain was already falling. I knew if it continued, I’d have no way of getting down the 10-mile winding road to town, let alone Nashville. I decided sleeping in the airport was favorable to not getting out at all. So, I set out.
There was a flight to Charlotte in a couple hours, but that flight was full. No need to even try for standby. Settling into a seat in the midst of students on their way to Charlotte was invigorating. They included me in their conversation and we talked about the holidays and where we were going. They couldn’t believe I was there a whole day ahead of time but understood why once I explained. One of the kids asked what kind of snacks I liked cause they were going to make sure I wouldn’t starve!
I didn’t notice when one young man slipped away from the group but I saw him coming back grinning like the Cheshire Cat. He came up to me and told me the ticket agent wanted to see me. “ME?” How did anyone from the airlines know I existed?
The ticket agent was smiling broadly, putting me at ease. “That young man wanted to trade his ticket for yours so you wouldn’t have to spend the night sitting up! I told him I wouldn’t do that but I would make sure you got on the plane.” I noticed that my name was now in first place for standbys. She saw me look at the board. “That’s just a formality, here’s your new boarding pass.”
Sure enough, 20 minutes later the generous student and I were both on the same plane heading for Charlotte.
Miracle? Some would say so. For me, if there was a miracle, it was a young man responding to the grace in his own spirit. He could have ignored it. He didn’t. He responded wholeheartedly to a call he heard deep within himself and that propelled him to give up his place so a grandma wouldn’t have to sleep in the airport. Some would say he was rewarded with good karma. I would say that’s what happens when you live by the Beatitudes.
Pat Pickett, OblSB