The Miracle of Flight, and SW Flight 8

I’m here in Santa Fe today. The Judge has a two-day family law conference here, and I tagged along…because it’s SANTA FE. (Duh…) How can you pass up a chance to come here? (We’re coming back tomorrow…)

Although, it did feel strange to be leaving Dallas in the midst of the greatest snowstorm in our city’s history. I always hate those moments when two cool things are happening at the same time in life.

As you might imagine, a *lot* of the flights were canceled yesterday. We were flying Southwest out of Love Field to ABQ. I didn’t think we were actually going to get out of town. But we did. And I’ll share a little bit about that in a moment.

But the first part of the “Daily Grat” is the miracle of flight itself. One of my all-time favorite YouTube videos is this one below, from the Conan O’Brien Show.

Every time I fly, this miracle of air travel is not lost on me. No matter what goes wrong…and plenty can.

The kind of amazement that Louis CK describes is exactly how I feel with every flight.

But then, you have a weather event like yesterday, and you’re reminded of how amazing airline travel can be.

So, here’s our brief story from yesterday…

We were supposed to get out on a late morning flight. But, snow was falling heavily and, frankly, I didn’t think *any* flights were going to get out.

We were stuck there for several hours, watching the board as flight after flight (in and outbound) was canceled.

Finally, somebody hear the news that there was a plane at Gate 11, and that it might be going to ABQ. So, we got in line there, but it still seemed pretty hopeless. Lots of the flights were being canceled, and there’s not a lot of “de-icing” equimpment in Texas.

Then, about 2:30, somebody picked up the intercom and announced that there *was* a plane bound for ABQ, and that anybody with a boarding pass, regardless of the flight number, should jump out of line.

We learned later that this was because somebody else already on the plane had told the pilot that others were in line, trying to figure out their situation. The pilot apparently knew he had seats, and was about to push off…so he told them to make that announcement.

So, we got to the boarding ramp and all they did was just take our boarding passes….if it said “ABQ,” they let us on.

So, that’s amazing thing #1.

But then, we sat there thinking “Crap…none of our luggage will make it…”

And, in fact, when we got here, we were pretty sure there’d be no bags.

But! Amazingly, somehow SW Airlines had gotten them on the plane! Somehow, in the minutes we waited at the gate for departure, they’d located our bags (remember, we were booked on a canceled flight, and on stand-by for yet a third) and gotten them on the plane.

I know a lot of folks got stranded and it didn’t work out for them.

But I must say, I am SO impressed with Southwest.

For “de-cing” trucks…
For the whole SW crew…and Flight 8…
For the miracle of flight itself…

I am thankful.

(During this year, my goal is to find something new to be thankful for every single day, and to add that thanksgiving as a blog entry, under the title “My Daily Gratitude.” I started this kick back around Thanksgiving, and it’s already resulted in a favorite new song of mine. The goal of this ongoing spiritual exercise is to see if doing such a thing might inspire even more gratitude within me, and to foster general awareness of life on a deeper level.)


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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He is Senior Pastor of The Woods United Methodist Church in Grand Prairie, Texas. For seventeen years, he was pastor at Northaven UMC in Dallas, Texas. Eric is an avid blogger and published author. Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy.

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