Wright Words: Heaven and Earth collide at Atlanta airport

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 29 2013 5:00 a.m. MST

Aerial view of Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport

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ATLANTA — Last week I traveled to Columbus, Ga., for seven events over two days. I was set to speak to Mormons, Methodists, college students and to a crowd of struggling teen girls at a Christian-based residential treatment center. My last stop would be a speech at the Junior League of Columbus.

It was a variety bag of delicious opportunities to share my messages and meet some truly inspirational people.

The trip had been in the works for many months and a tremendous amount of organizational labor was spent by the good folks who sponsored it. Tickets were bought. Reservations were made.

I woke up Thursday morning and walked out the door with everything I needed and one thing I didn't. A nasty cold had arrived — unscheduled, overnight.

Because we'd seen some winter weather in northern Virginia that day, the drive to Reagan National Airport took much longer than usual. Over the 2½-hour drive I counted all the reasons I dreaded getting on a plane with my head wanting to explode.

I lamented how incredibly unlucky I was that after not having been sick for many months, I was now being hit with a bug as I embarked on an important trip. I also wondered why my guardian angels hadn't been more aware of my schedule.

Aren't they on my email list?

By the time I settled into my seat on the tarmac in Washington, I would have preferred being anyplace else but on an airplane. As business travel warriors know, the road is not a place to heal.

Before powering off my iPhone for the flight, I posted on Facebook that I was headed to Georgia for events. Moments later a good friend of mine, Todd Cole of Harpers Ferry, W.Va., texted me and asked what time I was passing through Atlanta. He, too, was en route to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Two hours later I fired the phone back on and discovered that Todd and a colleague were closing in on the airport in a rental car after two days of business in the area.

They were returning a car to Hertz.

I would be renting a car from Hertz.

My next text to Todd just might have passed through a satellite in heaven.

"Could you give me a blessing?"

Todd is a fellow member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a holder of the Melchizedek Priesthood. As we believe, this gives worthy men the authority to act in God's name on Earth by performing a sort of prayer we call a blessing.

The answer, of course, was, "Yes."

Soon, Todd and his colleague pulled up to the arrivals curb in their rental car. It was surreal to see someone so out of context. Here was a good friend from home showing up at the Atlanta airport in a rental car to pick me up.

In the world's terms, the odds of that personal collision would be astronomical. But by heaven's math, it all made perfect sense.

We drove back to the car rental garage to return their vehicle. Then we stepped into the Hertz lounge to rent mine.

Just a few more minutes passed before we were walking toward my car in the garage, loading their bags and climbing in.

Once inside, Todd took the opportunity to explain to his colleague what a blessing by the laying on of hands is all about. The friend, a good Catholic man, was completely comfortable with the explanation and the blessing itself.

Following the example laid out in the Old Testament, Todd put his hands upon my head and blessed me that I would be able to fulfill my obligations in Georgia and to share my messages with those who were coming to listen.

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