Why Lost Luggage Can Be a Miracle in Disguise

Originally published on The Language of Joy blog.

I experienced a miracle at the airport last week!

Several years ago, when I was traveling to New York, a certain airline that I won't name lost my luggage. Mind you, this wasn't the first time. In fact, because this particular airline had lost my luggage both times I'd traveled with them before, I decided to take matters into my own hands to prevent it from happening again. I went out and bought carry-on sized luggage and toiletries so I could keep my belongings with me.

When I arrived at the gate, I was told there was no overhead bin space left and I would have to check my bag. I explained that they had lost my bag the last two trips and I must keep my carry-on with me. They refused and said they would not lose it this time. I asked if they would "valet" it like other airlines (which means they take it but put it right back on the jet-bridge upon landing as opposed to transferring it with checked luggage). This airline didn't offer that and said it had to be checked, no exceptions.

As you might have guessed, they lost my luggage again. I was furious. The longer I had to stand in line to submit a claim, the angrier I got. How could they do this to me? I had a meeting in the morning and no clothes. I yelled at the airline personnel and tried to make them feel bad for what they had done to me. I was clearly the victim and the universe was conspiring against me.

I woke up the next morning with the flu in a hotel room by myself, with no clothes or belongings. I had to cancel my meeting and spent the next two days in bed, all the while getting angrier and angrier at the airline. Clearly, they had made me sick! It was their fault that I had spent all this money on an airline ticket and hotel room just to be sick without my luggage.

The luggage arrived just in time for me to return home. But I wasn't ready to let it go. I called and waited for customer service, getting angrier the longer I waited. I wrote a nasty letter. Yet all I got in return was a letter stating that the airline was happy I got my luggage back and they were pleased to have lived up to their end of the deal and wished me a good day. No apology, no discount, nothing.

I continued to carry the anger with me for years. Literally. I refused to use that airline and would get angry any time I saw a commercial or heard someone speak about them.

Now for the miracle!

This past week, when I was traveling to Kripalu, my luggage was lost. I couldn't help but smile.

My friends' flights were delayed so instead of heading down to get my luggage as soon as the plane landed, I stumbled upon a "meditation room" at the Albany Airport and meditated for an hour.

When I went down to get my luggage, thinking it was just pulled aside because I hadn't picked it up yet, I learned that one-third of my connecting flight's luggage didn't make it and the line to submit claims had just died down. So instead of standing in line for an hour to submit a claim, I was meditating.

A miracle.

As I stood in the fairly short line, I joked with an airline employee and some of the others also waiting in line, trying to make the best of the situation. I noticed, however, that the woman standing behind me was a reflection of my prior self. Angry, infuriated, a victim. She was speaking loudly on her cell phone complaining about the airline, being rude to the airline personnel and completely getting herself worked up.

Our situations were no different. There was nothing we could do to change the outcome of our luggage being lost. But while she experienced anger and pain, I experienced peace.

A miracle.

"Only you can deprive yourself of anything." -- A Course in Miracles

My shift in perspective didn't happen overnight. It took time and a serious commitment to letting go of old patterns that were no longer serving me. But when you're ready, when there is even the slightest willingness to be open to something new, miracles begin to show up every single day.

Sometimes even in the form of lost luggage.