Reflecting beyond the day I found out why.


Published August 27, 2014 in Daily Reflections - 0 Comments

Stolen… When was the last time something was taken from you? After losing my life, I just lost all my clothes. (well, okay, for this trip) which has provided 3 new reflections for today:

(1) IMPERMANENCE – Nothing tangible may be with us forever. Appreciate it while you have it.
(2) PATIENCE – When errors go against your wishes, cooler heads prevail and allow superior service to emerge from those with the power to change our outlook.
(3) GRATITUDE – When excellent service or care is rendered, honor its provider through recognition, tangible or not.

A loss is often inspired by the obliviousness of our surroundings, or blind faith in our security of possessions through the hands of another. Since I rarely allow my situational awareness to fade, which is a perishable advantage for sheepdogs that must be actively perceptive and retrained, I am frustrated that the alternative outcome from trusting others has resulted in loss. Anger through circumstance is non-existent, whereas acceptance has risen to the occasion.

Tuesday morning was my day of continued loss as I traveled to Washington, DC from New York City. Anyone who has traveled previously in either direction knows it is a far more logical to take a train (3hrs) or a bus (4hrs). After TSA and taxi time, we invested well over 5 hours door-to-door flying from JFK to DCA. Restrictive overhead compartments prompted carry on luggage to be checked at the gate as we boarded, with a little useless red tag and absolutely no means to track the bag because a destination tag was never adhered. The only way to recover my personal belongings is likely USAA insurance, which I am grateful to maintain, though most people are not as fortunate under these circumstances.

Was it theft or did the bag just fall off the cart? I’ve had too many pieces of missing luggage over the years to think there is an underwear gnome equivalent for these sorts of things, especially with all the bag tags clearly displaying ownership, BUT I will never jump to conclusions without proof. In questioning the gate personnel and filing a baggage claim, I was extremely patient and grateful for their help, yet I left the counter without a confirmation number and accepted that they would call or text me with one. That call never came.

I thought before that this experience was somehow different, as following my death I woke up to find myself surrounded by friends and family. But even through this loss, I am seeing that friends and family remain with their own appropriate perspectives, reminding me that my acceptance of impermanence is the right way to approach this situation. My clothes are now relics lost to NYC without a way to know their final destination. Losing a bag for me was beyond embarrassing; going fifty feet from the gate to the butt of the plane seems implausible. Ironically I never checked the bag for an even greater fear of its sure loss through the more complicated inner baggage network of the airlines.

When we checked in at our hotel this morning and spent time getting acquainted, patience and gratitude were there to support our conversations, and they continued through to the drivers and waiters we had this evening. Saying those words makes me reflect on a level of dependence around us. I can cook my own food, open my own door, and get my own room key. But we don’t have those options of self-service easily accessible because they represent a measure of success while offering job security to others who are equally in need of work.

Patience and gratitude were extended to our warriors overseas as we witnessed a recent documentary that cataloged their service, and it was again extended amongst our dinner table for those who joined and those who delivered. As for this hotel, I was patient and grateful for the woman at the end of the night who repressed my shirt for tomorrow. (pun intended)

What would you do if you lost everything? For me, the answer is simple, and I find it enshrined in our community. The root of this experience, for me, is that nothing is permanent: If we give thanks for what we have now, we stand to appreciate the depth of life for when what we have remaining will no longer be around.

On that note, I appreciate you being PATIENT in my delivery of reflection and for your expression of GRATITUDE by encouraging me to continue on the path toward inspiring others.