Standing in the security check line in the Buffalo airport at 6:00 a.m. on a Monday morning is the last place on earth I would have thought I would have a front row vantage point to a miracle. But that’s where I was and that’s where it was–both the vantage point and the miracle.

As the line repeatedly doubled back on itself, wending its way to the battery of scanners, I couldn’t help noticing a young woman–maybe age 19, tops. She was tall and slim, cropped reddish hair, jeans, sandals revealing toes with badly chipped pink nail polish, and a stretched-out cardigan over her tank top. What I noticed about her was that she was crying–not hysterically, but quietly sobbing, occasionally wiping her tears on the drooping sleeve of her sweater.

I kept passing her every couple of minutes, each time coming upon her head-on, so the tears and her sadness were easily viewed. I wanted to reach out to her–say something that would comfort her. But what could I say? What could I do? Obviously I had no idea of the source of her distress.

Maybe she had just left her boyfriend…maybe they wouldn’t see each other for the next 4 months. Maybe they’d just had a fight. Maybe they had just broken up. Maybe it wasn’t a boyfriend at all. Maybe she was leaving her home and family behind for the first time and feeling bereft. Maybe one of her family was sick and the prognosis was not good.

I decided to take a Buddhist approach. I didn’t say anything directly to her. I didn’t reach out to her physically with a touch to her arm to say all would be OK, regardless the problem. Instead I surrounded her with thoughts to comfort her. I saw her surrounded by healing white light, by peace and calm. Could this really work as I’ve heard tell? I kept thinking the thoughts.

Two more passes by her and she was still sobbing. But on the third…wait–what was happening?

The 40-something man behind her in line, so not as easily a head-on witness to her unhappiness, but perhaps aware nonetheless, was speaking to her–quietly. He had a kind and calm look about him–a slight paunch, not much hair, and what hair there was was grayed. He was definitely not on the make with this girl half his age.

What was he saying? Wait again–I could almost hear…something about the length of the line…something about where was she going…she said New Jersey. He was en route to Florida.

Just with that brief interchange, the tears subsided…then he said something that made her smile, ever so slightly. They were now out of my earshot and momentarily out of my direct line of vision…but then they reappeared in front of me in the ever-switching back line.

Her pale, lightly freckled, tear-stained face was now smiling–really smiling. The Florida-bound man was still talking to her, obviously successful in diverting her attention from her troubles. Did he know what he had just done, or was he oblivious? Did he know he was perhaps part of a Buddhist-induced miracle?

Of course I’m not naive enough to assume that the girl’s problems were wiped away with a mere superficial conversation with a stranger, but maybe, just maybe I was witness to a bona fide miracle–and perhaps the presence of an angel in the form of a middle-aged man with a paunch, stalled in an early morning, agonizingly long security check line in the Buffalo airport, and headed to Florida.

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