(The final section of a letter I wrote in September of 2005. Thanks for taking this trip down memory lane with me – Rusty)
It took forever but we eventually made it to the other terminal, I eventually got through the right security checkpoints and security processes in the right order (eventually) and eventually I was standing in front of a new Indian Airlines attendant behind a new Indian Airlines desk.
I handed her my ticket receipt and old boarding pass I think.
She looked down at it and looked at me. “I can only send you on the one that stops at Jammu.”
“That will be just fine.”
The plane was about to take off.
She made a decision.
She ripped the receipt part off of my ticket from Leh to Srinagar, fed it into her machine and manually printed off a boarding pass from Delhi to Srinagar. She handed me the pass.
I thanked her, thanked my guide and raced through the final legs of security in time to get on the plane.
Then the plane was grounded for another half hour …
but we did take off eventually, land in Jammu (after a conversation with a handful of ‘Times of India’ journalists that I think that I handled quite wisely), take off eventually and then land in Srinagar (after a conversation with a Pharma-marketer that was quite informative and fun).
I think that maybe the reason I wasn’t getting a specific answer about which city I was to try to fly through to get back to Srinagar earlier is because if He had answered ‘All of them’ I would have gotten too confused :p
By the time I arrived in Srinagar I had resigned myself to the fact that I would never see my bag or it’s contents again. It didn’t actually feel that bad … maybe God was taking me through a season of showing me how little ‘stuff’ actually matters in the long run compared to relationship etc.
However, I felt that it was only responsible to at least make what looked like an attempt to get it back. The thing with the Srinagar airport though is that it has no ‘Indian Airlines’ offices, it has no visible offices period. It has a runway, security checkpoints, a ton of heavily armed army personnel, road blocks, barbed wire, high walls, camouflage and almost as many taxi wallas as army personnel. But it doesn’t have anything that looks like an airlines office. The closest thing it has is a desk where foreigners are supposed to register. So I asked the lady behind the desk if she had any Idea who I should talk to. She looked up and seeming a little surprised said “Actually that is the Indian Airlines manager right over there.”
So I walked over to him and briefly explained that I thought that perhaps my baggage had been left in Leh. He took a description of the bag and the number on my tag. Then he pulled a cell phone out of his pocket, had a conversation in Urdu (I assume with someone in Leh) of which I understood only the word ‘foreigner’ (I also assume that the word stupid was used right before it). When he hung up he turned to me and said. “It will be in the Indian Airlines office at Dal Gate waiting for you Tomorrow at 4.
In case I didn’t make it explicit yet I firmly believe that God revealed to Alexis about the need to pray for the plane and then answered our prayers that I wouldn’t go down in the fiery explosion of an airplane by making that engineer ‘happen’ to see that the wing flaps were broken. The free airline flights to get me home and retrieval of the lost baggage was just the “over and above” part of the answered prayer.
What are some “over and above” prayer answers that you have received?