The Prayer We Didn't Know We Were Praying

I hear her voice from across the concourse.

“Hello! Hello!” The voice explodes with light. “Welcome!”

I turn. It’s coming from a woman behind the register of a CNBC Newsstand in the Charlotte airport. And I am reminded that we don’t need an altar to make a place sacred.

The newsstand has today’s papers, candy with a shelf life that will last another year of today’s papers, walls of magazines and bestsellers. And it has people. People who are used to busy, affectionless airports.

Only that will not be today.

“LOOK at these smiling faces going to GREAT places!” In less sincere hands, these words would be mawkish sugar water. But the woman’s voice claps like a standing ovation across the newsstand and out into the concourse.

And I’m pretty sure that what she’s really saying to these people in that newsstand is, “I love you.”

But I’m only somewhat right.

Because the woman sees me standing in the concourse. She throws up a manicured hand and waves like I’m the cousin she’s been waiting all year to see. I smile that great, dopey smile of someone who is loved. I wave back.

I get, then, that she loves all of us.

And sometimes, the fog breaks and we see that the saints and the seers, the ones who answer the prayer we didn’t even know we were praying are here in the concourse among us.

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