On leaving Amarillo

This story is about a miracle–you may decide for yourself, rational empiricist, if it actually was. So after the Texas Medieval Association conference, which was held in Canyon, Texas, this year (2013), was over, I had to head back home to Waco. I had arrived on the high plains of west Texas to give my paper on miracles (interesting coincidence, no?) via the Amarillo airport, so once the last paper was over on Saturday, I hopped in my rental car, and I headed north. After stopping for gas, I dropped the car off at the rental office and headed to the terminal. Once there, I found out that there was bad weather in Dallas, that the 3:30 flight was still waiting to leave (it was 4:30 pm by now), and that the agent did not want me to check in for my flight yet because she didn’t know if it would ever leave at all. The prospects of getting out of Amarillo on this particular Saturday night were somewhere between zero and none. I headed to the airport bar to drown my travel sorrows in a cold beverage. Minutes later, my phone dinged to let me know that my 6:30 pm flight was now leaving at a little past seven–an old story. I ordered another beverage, but decided that since dinner time was looming, I would also buy a burger. I made the order. About five minutes later, my phoned dinged again, and my heart sank–now I would be delayed until tomorrow. Yet, to my great astonishment, I was now bumped up to the ill-fated 3:30 pm flight which was still sitting at the gate like a beached whale. I rushed over to check-in, and the clerk wanted my bag, and she had my ticket in her hand–“Run,” she said, “the flight is leaving in less than ten minutes.” I had inquired as to the availability of seats on that flight earlier, and there were none. Shaking my head at my good fortune, I headed to the bar to pay for my drinks and burger. The burger wasn’t ready yet, so told the waitress to give it away. She shrugged, and I left. There was no one at security except the bored security guards, so I put everything in the bins, the bins on the belt, and stepped into the security scanner machine. No waiting. As I was putting my shoes on, the security guard told me to wait–my food was coming through. A little dumb-struck, I took my food and backpack and headed for the gate. Ginger handed me a new baggage tag receipt, and I got on the plane, which promptly pulled away from the gate and headed for Dallas with me and my burger and fries. How I ever got on that flight with my food can only be termed a miracle. I left before I was even required to be at the airport. I have never been “moved up” without asking for it. Call me crazy, claim that it was just coincidence, but I honestly think God put my return together. I was at the airport early, a seat on a full flight was given to me without asking for it, the server at the bar had the kind foresight and generosity to carry my food to security, and the security agent gave it to me. Well-rested, and well-fed, I arrived in Dallas where my car was waiting for me–I didn’t miss my connection because on this odd trip, I had driven the two hours to the airport. If it were just one thing, I would dismiss it as random, but too many things had to coalesce at once to bring me home safely on Saturday night. Leaving Amarillo was a wonderful lesson in God’s power to give us what we need and perhaps less of what we want.