The past few months, I have been dealing with a situation I have little or no control over. I have come to understand, over the years, how difficult the feeling of having no control is for me. In a nutshell, I have had an overseas trip planned for some time. But, I came upon a beastly mountain that I would need to get past before feeling excitement for what I consider to be one of the best parts of life: exploring. Frustrating details got in the way and threatened the possibility of going.
Patience is the quality needed in such a scenario. No amount of adrenaline, distress, or maneuvering could prove useful. Fast forward to today.
Today, I was thinking back to a time a few years back, when my bicycle — my cherished possession — was stolen at a friend’s apartment complex in New York City. An unwanted surprise.
When I discovered my mode of transportation was not where I left it, I was completely shaken. “How could somebody take something so important to me from me?,” I asked myself. I wanted to run through the building, knocking on doors — hoping someone could shed light on what happened. Instead, I hung my head and walked away from the place where Lulu, the tiny chihuahua I was looking after while my friend was on vacation, lived. I walked roughly 2 miles to my job and was hopelessly late.
The look on my face and beads of sweat from hustling to the office must have been a sure sign to my fellow coworkers that something was wrong. Mary, our lead sales representative, asked me what was wrong. I explained what occurred and expressed the anger I wished to act upon. She was entirely opposed.
Mary had lived in the city for many decades and knew the ins and outs, ways of maneuvering about, and possessed a certain wisdom I did not about the borough of Brooklyn. Crafty and clever she was. I trusted her instinct. Instead of accepting my loss or throwing a tantrum of sorts, Mary helped me devise a plan.
We sat down and wrote a letter to hang in the lobby of the apartment building in Sunset Park. The letter neither blatantly accused nor threatened the wrongdoer. Devising embellishment of me and my situation as the dogsitter for Apt. 6C, I realized that optimism and patience were the only two factors that might — just might — bring my bike back to me. Being that many of the tenants in the building were Latin American, I asked Marcel, the barback at my favorite neighborhood bar, to transcribe a separate letter to place beside the English version in Spanish. I hung them on the cork board with conviction.
Here is the English letter I hung up:
I went to bed that evening praying the bike would be where I left it in the morning. I woke up the next morning, fed Lulu, and walked downstairs. There it was! My bike was returned. Right there was my bike where I had left it — with a few embellishments. The person who “moved” it had added a water bottle holder and deep saw marks throughout my U-lock. I cared nothing at all about needing to replace the lock, though. My bike was returned.
The reason I decided to write about this memory has to with the quality of patience that I have struggled with in the past. When it comes to my trip, I did my very best to let the universe reveal what was to be (or gave it to God, as I often hear people say in the South). Today, I was granted the green light to resume my halted excitement for the trip. Sometimes, a little patience and faith does yield positive results. I went on a 12-mile bike ride today and smiled as I envisioned walking the streets I have been missing so much in Amsterdam, Paris, and Berlin. So many steps I will take with a dear friend in not-so-many days.
Like the sight of my returned bike the day I walked down those stairs, I felt the same relief and joy today about my trip.