Aboard The Flying Nun Express

>So four nuns walk onto a plane . . .

It sounds like a bad joke and for me, it was more like a cosmic joke. This morning I boarded my Southwest Airlines flight from Detroit to Phoenix (layover to Burbank). Our flight had been delayed because the flight scheduled at the gate before us had a broken plane and they had to take ours, making us wait for the next available plane. So an hour after our scheduled departure, we were finally boarding. I was in a panic because we still had to go through the de-icing process and I only had a 35 minute layover in Phoenix. I was convinced I was going to miss my connection. So I pulled out my new copy of Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons (purchased at the Airport News store) and started reading to calm my nerves.

Suddenly I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt. I’m not sure why I felt guilty or what I felt guilty about–I just felt guilty. I looked up and saw a nun in full habit dress. I immediately sat up straight, tried to hide my book, put my hands in my lap in a praying manner and bowed my head. I kept my head low but watched as the nun boarded the plane, followed by her sister, another sister, and another sister. Four nuns boarded my plane and my heart stopped. I watched as they walked past me, their rosaries on their hips slapping the passengers in the aisle seats. Thankfully I sat in a window seat, preventing the rosaries from burning into my skin.

Was God trying to punish me for my previous blog, for questioning the Catholic religion? Was he punishing me for questioning religion in general? Was this a sign that I was going to die? Wait, no, God wouldn’t kill four nuns at once–maybe one or two but never four at a time. But why were they here, on my plane? Each one glanced at me as if they knew me, they knew I was a heathen, a bad catholic. My chest started to hurt. I was very close to grasping my chest and doing a Fred Sanford impersonation.

I immediately put Angels and Demons back into my bag. I reached down and pet my cat in her carrier. She yelled at me, as if to say “Mom, you’re a bad catholic and now we are both going to pay for your sins.” Actually, she was probably yelling at me because the guy sitting in the seat she was under was extremely overweight and she was really sick of being in her carrier.

I tried desperately to stop thinking about the nuns at the back of the plane. I just put on my headphones and listened to my Glee soundtracks on my ipod. Ironically, the first song to play–“I say a little prayer for you.” Wow, talk about a day of signs.

Eventually, we made it into Phoenix. We were a half hour late and by the time I deplaned, my connecting flight’s scheduled departure had come and gone. So I walked over to the arrivals and departures TV. To my amazement, my connecting flight to Burbank had been delayed by one hour and twenty minutes. So now I had time to get something to eat and use the restroom. With a sigh of relief, I turned and watched as the four nuns walked past me, all smiling and nodding their heads. Is that a sign that God is watching over me and forgives me of my sins? Or is it just lucky to have a flying nun in your presence? Either way, I vow to carry my rosary and a Sally Field Flying Nun doll with me whenever I fly.

Of course, that was not the end of my weird day of Catholic signs. On my flight from Phoenix to Burbank, the two people sitting next to me attended Catholic school. And one of them was also from Sterling Heights and she attended school at St. Anne’s, the church that banned me from their catechism classes. We reminisced about dealing with Nuns and how you were not supposed to question the teachings. Finally, someone who understands.

Maybe I should go to church and thank God for all of the signs and luck he gave me today. On second thought, I will just drive through the parking lot instead and kiss my celtic cross. I’m still afraid I might burst into flames if I step inside.

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