light on: when the universe steps up

Beautiful moments happen when things are going terribly. I kept learning this, over and over again, on my trip.

When I Got Lost
The first time it happened was the best. I was standing on a train platform in a small French town. I was not supposed to be there. But I’d missed my transfer on the way to Charles De Gaulle airport, realizing two stops past that I should have gotten off and switched lines.

Train Station Drama
I had leapt off the train and tried to get out of the station, but the ticket reader wouldn’t let me through. A young businessman finally walked me through the gates, waving his monthly pass at the sensors. Then I asked about taking a taxi; I stood at the stand for fifteen minutes before realizing that, in a town as small as this, they probably ambled by every hour or so. I dragged my suitcase back to the station and finally bought a ticket for a train that could take me back to my missed connection. I promptly heaved myself up one long flight of steps and down another, enormous suitcase bashing my heels as I went down, only to find I’d arrived on the wrong platform. Back up the stairs, and down again, until finally, all I had to do was wait.

Waiting to Exhale
And wait. And wait. I was tired. I hadn’t eaten. I was mad at myself for packing so much freakin‘ luggage. I began worrying that I’d miss my flight to Athens, and felt the spiral into a full-on panic attack start. I hadn’t had one in ages. I really didn’t want to have one on the train platform in a small French town where everybody I’d approached for help when I first arrived was simply staring at me.

Light On
I started taking out every stress buster tool I know. And I closed my eyes and asked for help: “Please, I know I’m worrying too much. I’m sure it will be fine. But please help me to know this.” Two minutes later the train arrived. The platform I stood on was about a foot and a half below the train floor. I stepped up into the train, and as I reached back to lug my suitcase up behind me, I felt it lift up on its own. A beautiful girl eased it up beside me. “Eez okay?” she smiled at me and asked, “Okay here?” I nodded and she disappeared into the next car.

At the next stop, the doors slid open, revealing a deserted platform. Music was coming from the speakers usually reserved for transit announcements. Before the doors slid shut again I made out these words: “In every life we have some trouble, but when we worry we make it double. Don’t worry, be happy. Don’t worry, be happy.” I laughed. I let it go.

I made my flight, two minutes to spare.

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Jun 17, 2009 · Comment

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