Enroute to Shangra-La, I lost my Passport.
My ticket to Israel and India disappeared along with all paperwork which would allow me to leave the United States to begin a 12-day pilgrimage. The trip of a Lifetime.
Did I mention the three check books I also lost? All gone in a flash. All left in a plastic zip-lock bag carrying my e-ticket, my itinerary, along with a book by Rav Michael Laitman, the spiritual leader of the Bnei Baruch Kabbalah teaching method handed down by ancient sages.
My travel papers were last seen in Jamaica. No, not the Island Paradise, but that section of Queens, New York, the “hub” of railroad traffic passing through New York City. I had travelled there from Philadelphia and was on the last leg of a 5-train trek to JFK Airport. Five different trains and not one mishap! Until I started to readjust two travel bags and dropped my train ticket. I retrieved the ticket from the concrete platform floor and rushed with the bags as I saw my train pulling up. Got on the “Air Train” headed to JFK and my ascension toward the heavens.
I was chatting with a fellow returning to his home in Switzerland, when I jumped from my seat and hollered “holy s–t,” realizing I no longer was carrying my packet, and feeling the onset of panic. I searched the chair and the floor of the train, and opened my bags, hoping I had put them inside. No such luck. They were gone.
“Oh, my God,” I said to no one in particular. All those plans for India and Israel gone down the drain, not to mention the savings I began just a year ago when I vowed to go to India sometime in the Year 2010. Was the Creator — the Force some call God or the Fates — nudging me into a direction I needed to go other than the most holiest places on the Earth? Could I be man enough to accept this detour and not sink into a PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) episode and go ballistics?
“There is none else besides Him,” I prayed, uttering what has become a “mantra” of sorts in the past several months. God is good. Things happen for the good, but we don’t always see it that way. We’re suffering too much to see a “guiding hand” through what we perceive as a tragedy or disaster.
“If I am not for me, who else will be for me?” I said, completing the 3-part Kabbalah “method.” This last part provides one with the “fiction” of taking action on their own part and not to let another force act for them. I asked myself, what would the Creator do in my situation? How would a Buddha deal with this latest “Cause and condition?”
And so, I returned to the “scene of the crime,” the platform where I last seen my passport and ticket. But the metal chair I had rested on was empty. I felt as blue as the color of the metal bench where I spent just a fraction of my life with such far-reaching consequences.
I reported the loss and could do nothing more at that point. And I sat. Meditated. Accepted whatever the outcome was going to be, already visualizing how I’d avoid showering in a strange place,standing and waiting in customs lines, and the downside of other experiences on most trips.
Two or three trains passed as I started to plan my return home. An African-American — a Muslim — encouraged me to be positive when I shared my story with him. He praised the authorities and said they would do all to help me.
A security guard making his rounds caught my attention as I heard him asking a series of questions over the phone. He looked at me, asked me my full name and address, and what was in the contents of he bag. I told him and he repeated it, then looked at me again providing the good news. Someone, a good Christian woman, had found the bag and turned it in to a woman named Dolly at the Delta check-in. She was a Hindu, I learned when we spoke of our affinity for Ganesha, my favorite elephant boy deity.
I bowed with hands clasped together and would have prostrated the marble floor of the JFK Terminal, but Dolly was behind a counter and would not have seen the honor I wanted to give to her. Got my bag. Passport and ticket all secure and made it to Israel, the “land of milk and honey,” a refreshing Oasis in my latest journey.
Somehow, I felt this was to be just the start of a new and wonderful relationship.