When they call

I was running super late. The night before heading to the start of my airline training, I hadn’t planned ahead sufficiently, and I realized I didn’t have my logbooks on hand. I didn’t even know where they were after moving everything from Phoenix. I asked Sarah, and she didn’t know where they were either. As I was on the edge of panic, the kids were exhausted from Arianna’s first birthday party, and Joel especially was difficult to get down. Sarah laid in bed with Joel, and was praying for help finding the logbooks the whole time as he was slowly winding down to sleep. It suddenly dawned on her that the missing folder containing my logbooks were in the Eggo box, which was somewhere in the storage unit we have while looking for a place of our own. We didn’t have time to go down and look then, it was too late, but with Sarah’s confidence that it was surely there, I resolved to leave a half hour early, then we’d be on time to leave for the 1.5 hour drive to the airport.

We ended up leaving 10 minutes early, not 30, so when the box was not immediately evident in storage, I was about ready to get really worried. Just then, I got a text from United saying: “Your 1035am United flight to Chicago is delayed due to awaiting aircraft. UA4540 now departs Rochester 1117am and arrives 1215pm.” Well that’s great, I realized. Now I have an extra 45 minutes. Calm again, we started digging to find that elusive box. Sarah climbed up on top of boxes and furniture to the very back and, holding herself up on the storage shed’s main skeleton, finally found it buried way in the back, under several other items. She was able to reach down and pull out the folder, and we smoothly put everything back in its place and started for the airport.

En route, we smiled and talked to each other as our kids sang to themselves in the back. When they fell asleep, we listened to James Harriet’s description of Callum Buchanon. I had no stress or concern for the flight, because we were well on the way to make it with plenty of my built-in wiggle-room. After a prolonged period of goodbyes for my long period gone, I saw what I suspected was the late aircraft arriving, so I wrapped the goodbyes up. I casually made my way to the check in counter, weighed my bag in at a perfect 49.5 lbs, and got smoothly through security.

As I arrived at my gate, however, I was surprised to find a line of people ready to get on board. It was 10:18. As I got closer it was evident that they were already a fair ways into the boarding process. Our flight was leaving on time! In fact, we pushed back almost 5 minutes early. I asked my seat mate, and he said they also had seen the flight was delayed, but then the gate agent took it back almost immediately, claiming it was an error in the system. I shudder to think what would have happened if I had not built that margin into my time, but this thing I know: God must have arranged for that error to be made so that we would be able to fully enjoy our final moments together without our having to worry about being late, and the stress associated with it.

I think back on those final moments. Sarah leaning against my shoulder as I drive through the countryside. Arianna’s bright, adoring eyes shining at me as she looked back at me getting my bags from the trunk, then getting even more resplendent as I kissed her goodbye. Joel’s gentle “Love you, Daddy” as he waved me goodbye. I had prayed that God give us pleasant and sweet goodbyes without panic and worry. Surely He had answered. Just as He always has.

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