My wife and I had gone through the arrival Immigration and Customs process and were on the way out of the airport. She was carrying her purse and cabin bag while I was trotting a few steps behind with our two large suitcases. They were the old two-wheeler kind which you have to lift and drag. We were coming back from India so those bags contained not a gram less than the allowed 50 pounds!
We came to a longish escalator going down. My wife hopped on and a couple of seconds later I followed. My arms were aching after the long walk with the bags from the Customs area. Without thinking, I placed one of the suitcases on the escalator step and let go.
Even in the split second that my brain shrieked a desperate warning at me, the suitcase has taken off, spinning like an upright disc, all 50 pounds of it, heading straight for my wife. I must have screamed my wife’s name or something, for she twisted around, now staring straight at the suitcase flying right into her face.
When I close my eyes even now, I can see it spinning as it flew in the air. There was nothing my wife or I could do. There was no time to react. I knew that if the suitcase hit her with that weight and at that speed, it would kill her or completely pulverize her face.
It was probably less than a foot away from her face when, as if it has a mind of its own, it became flat like a saucer, swerved neatly around her, flew a little further down and hit the wall on the left with such tremendous force that it went crazily sliding a long way before it stopped.
I don’t think my wife really knew what happened or even saw the suitcase. There must have been a fraction of a second between her turning around and the suitcase flying past. She just stood at the bottom of the escalator, glaring at me in anger and shock, but not really registering that she had just escaped death only by a fraction of a second. It was only later that she understood and reacted but only in stunned silence as she does even today when we happen to discuss it.
It later also struck me as strange that there was no one else was on the escalator in those moments. It was Chicago airport, one of the busiest in the country. A packed flight had come in from India. And yet we were the only two there. I shudder to think of what could have happened had there been more people going down that escalator. A thousand questions swirl in my mind and I have no answers, no words, except this one.
I think a passing angel had intervened on her behalf that day. There was no other reason for that bag to turn on its side, change direction the way it did or at the moment it did. For her and for me, it will always be that it had received a divine instruction to do so.
But I had seen the whole thing happen clearly. And I will never ever forget it. There are some nights even now when for no reason at all, that flying suitcase will wake me up, all trembling and sweating, my arms flailing wildly as if I am trying to catch the suitcase. Even as I write this, my stomach is churning and my knees are going wobbly. I could have lost her forever that day. Sometimes the moving picture in my mind is so real that my mind inserts the unthinkable and I have to sob into the sheet.
Something had snatched that bag in mid-air that day and flung it at the wall instead of her. It is the kind of thing that makes you go down on your knees and fold your hands as you bow your head in surrender.
And for this and all such mercies that He has forever bestowed on us, I will continue to do so, without question, every day.