Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Guardian Angels

I have always loved this image. During our walk to Jerusalem, we saw it often; and every time we did, I couldn't help but feel as if angels were with us, physically and non-physically, safe-guarding our journey.

I spent this past weekend in Santa Barbara, attending the Global Ebook Awards, where our book was a winner. It was an exciting event, where I met plenty of authors and people of like mind and soul. I was scheduled to fly out of Santa Barbara to San Francisco at 8:39pm Sunday evening, then onwards to Chicago at 11:01pm, and then finally a 6:00am flight Monday morning to Ottawa. My only concern with my shcedule was that I only had one hour to make my Ottawa connection, but I was sure I would make it.

I arrived early at Santa Barbara airport, and was perusing their (only) gift store when a friend mentions that he found some fellow authors in the terminal. As I mention that I'm waiting on my 8:39pm to San Francsico, they tell me they're about to board a 4:45pm flight to San Francisco. "Why don't you try to get on to that flight instead?"

I couldn't see why not, and immediately went to the counter to ask if I could change my ticket. "It would normally cost you $75 to make the change, but because your flight is now cancelled, I can move you to this flight at no charge."

I couldn't believe it! I had not even bothered to check the Departures board, thinking that I have already checked in and all was well. Had my friend not called me to speak with those other authors, and had they not suggested that I take their flight, I would have been in Santa Barbara overnight for sure.

I also got the last seat on that flight.

I arrived in Chicago feeling buoyant, and checked the board to make sure my 11:01 flight to Chicago was leaving on time. At 7:00pm, it was. At 9:00pm, my flight was cancelled.

After waiting over an hour to see a customer service rep (and all the while practicing Ho'oponopono!), I am told there is nothing available until the next evening. Of course, I'm dejected and waiting as she prepares my hotel voucher. Suddenly, she starts banging on the keyboard of her computer because, for some reason, it was hanging. Her face then suddenly lights up.

"I have no idea how, but one seat just opened up on the 10:50pm flight to Chicago. I'm booking it for you."

I floated away from her, feeling that angels were indeed watching over me, and boarded my flight, happy with the extra cushion I now had to make my flight to Ottawa. The gate closes on time. The captain announces we'll be leaving on time. I settle in my centre seat near the back of the plane and close my eyes.

I dozed off and when I opened my eyes, it was 11:30pm... and we had not left the gate.

I closed my eyes again, and drifted back to sleep, too tired to contemplate whether or not I would make my 6:00am connection.

The flight began its descent at around 5:15am. I began to feel hopeful. By the time it landed, taxied and then got to the gate, it was 5:40am. Other passengers were complaining about missing their flights, and when I told them my time, they just shook their heads and said, "you'll never make it."

"I always arrive on time," had become a recent mantra of mine, as I try to break the cycle of rushing and feeling that I'm going to be late for a meeting, an event, etc. I kept repeating it to myself as I finally got off the plane and checked the board, hoping that THIS flight would be cancelled or delayed too; only to find it boarding. I was in terminal B, gate 2... and I needed to get to terminal C, gate 6. I ran as fast as my legs could carry me, dragging along my little carry-on suitcase, repeating that mantra and asking all the invisible forces of the universe to hold that plane! I didn't even look at my watch. I ran across the tunnel, up the stairs, down another long alleyway until I arrived at my gate, beyond breathless. The flight was leaving momentarily.

I collapsed into my seat. The captain announces that we'll wait a few more minutes for the 14 passengers who are delayed from other flights. Only one man appeared, looking as frazzled as I'm sure I did. The doors closed, and we took off, delayed by only a few minutes, and arrived pretty much as scheduled in Ottawa.

I've known for a long time now that I don't walk alone; that a great Love accompanies my every step. Perhaps in the mundane, day-to-day routine of my life, I may not feel that as strongly. But when I most needed them, and when I paid attention to the unusual sequence of events they were orchestrating, they made their Love manifest. And for that, I feel ever grateful.

No one walks alone.

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