Last Thursday (18 Dec) I went to Chicago to apply for my Chinese visa… and was successful! I now have a work permit and a work visa! Woo Hoo!
The train ride on the way up was uneventful but as a public service announcement, if you have to catch the train at Waterloo, IN in inclement weather, I would suggest you have a nice place to wait (like your car) as the train is notoriously late (> 1 hour last week)!
I got to the consulate and turned in my papers and was told to return later to pick up my visa. At this point, I was still only 99.8% sure I’d get it – my anticipation too high!
Since the document wouldn’t be ready until 2pm, I decided to go to the Art Institute of Chicago. However, when I went to pay for the ticket on the “el” my wallet was GONE! I didn’t believe I was pickpocketed (but I could have) but probably lost between Union Station and the consulate. I felt deflated and disappointed, but not angry. I can’t explain why I didn’t explode, but I didn’t. I didn’t rationally think and say to myself, “it won’t do any good to explode and lose it because it won’t change anything anyway”. I just react out of the peace (or lack of it) resides within me.
After all, I was going to get my visa to China today! Not even a lost wallet can take ALL of that away. Besides, I had my car keys, cell phone, and $300 cash put away in a deep pocket inside my backpack. At least I can still pay for my visa, buy my train ticket, and drive back home. I can even buy lunch and celebrate at Starbucks !
Sure, it is a pain to get all new cards, replace the driver’s license, and all that. Someone could have completely rebuilt my identity with the stuff that was in there. And all the cash? Well, Merry Christmas and God bless whoever got it. Evidently someone needed it more than I did! I’m not going hungry, or living in the cold. It’s all God’s money anyway, I can trust him to do good with it. What else is there to do anyway?
I debriefed the incident with a friend right after I finished the canceling of the cards. I told her I reported the missing wallet to the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) as a “hail Mary” shot. She said it might restore some hope in humanity if someone turned it in and I got it back. I replied that I am not sure about humanity so much as maintaining hope and faith in God. It is a bonus when humans exercise and act on their hope and faith in God by doing the right thing and bless others in attitude as well as action.
About 4pm that day I got a call from the CTA reporting that they had found my wallet and where I could pick it up! WOW! The amazing thing is that EVERYTHING was still in there – down to the $102.41! If that isn’t a blessing of hope this season, I don’t know what is!
With all the stress of shopping and poor economy and ever-changing circumstances, it is easy to forget the reasons why we have this holiday, and lose perspective of the reasons why we need this holiday. We celebrate Christmas because in Christmas we have hope for peace through Jesus who gives us a peace that is not of this world. My wish for you is that you would take time for some reflection on the hope and peace that you have (or not), and that some hope and peace can be restored in you.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!