Things Happen For A Reason…

This is what we sometimes say when things do not go our way, or to situations that has plucked our nerves by turning out the opposite of what we expected. These are usually instances when one may hijack their brain looking for a reason, and if they can’t pin one down, you may hear the comforting excuse, ‘Things happen for a reason.”  This simple statement has massaged our minds, hearts, and Spirit since time immortal.

Things always happen for a reason whether we do what we have to do or we sit around and do nothing. We live in a world of change, and the Laws are as such, ‘You get what you put out in.’  When we work hard at something the results may be positive or not so positive (depending on how the subject sees things). When we sit around and do nothing to move our situation, things still happen but maybe not to our highest benefit.

Things have to happen, otherwise we stagnate, shrivel up, keel up, and/or die.  Change goes hand in hand with our existence.  If you do not do something about your particular situation, the same situation will do you.  Oh, and the results may not be so Kosher.

A couple of weeks ago, I booked a flight in a hurry, jumped on a plane two weeks later, and landed on a bump at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on the way to Suva, Fiji, waiting for what seemed eternity for a miracle. These things (BUMPS) happens, and sometimes we can’t find any other reason other than “Things happen for a reason,” which could easily reflect a lack of accountability (or consciously checking into LaLa Land), but it sure sounds soothingly good.

At LAX, while waiting my turn in line, I felt a bad vibe coming from a particular ticketing agent behind the airline counter.  For some odd reason I found myself feeling disgruntled as I approached the full-figured Samoan lady who called our number, “Next!”  While in line back there, I observed every agent as I waited to get to the front to check our luggage in. After sensing some strange vibrations coming from her, I had a steady chant and prayer session going on not to be called by that woman.  The lady bore no remote resemblance of a smile at any time (not even facial twitch) as she checked passengers in.  She hadn’t one for me either.

Everything was going well, until this woman asked me for a Fijian visa. “Visa? What blooming visa?” I said with puffy eyes from two days lack of sleep and a layover spanning the globe.  I had the raccoon effect going on and yes, I was dragging more bags than any bag lady could have had that cold night under a bridge in downtown LA.

As my hands flipped Image 13through my travel paper (like trying to pull a trick out of a hat–something I have no experience doing), I said “No, I don’t have one.”  The lady, looking up at me with a dim weary eye, had a list of “negatives” laid out as to why we were not going to be on that 11:30 pm plane:  No Fijian visas…  Too much luggage… Too many carry-on bags…  Carry-on bags too heavy…  The luggage bill will be high ($7 for each additional kilo)…  It will take more than 2 weeks to get a Fijian visa…  She couldn’t reach anyone at Nandi immigration office…  I mean, the list was dark, gloomy, and downright heavy!

Okay, “Time for prayer,” I told myself, but then quickly figured, no prayers would get pass this lady to that flight.  Time to regroup…  I was luckily my mom was too tired to run find a coconut broom and whip me for dragging her all the way to LA and not having visas.  She was too exhausted to think, and it seems she’d checked in to LaLa Land long before we went to the ticket counter.  We had spent almost 12 hours at that airport to catch that 11:30 pm flight.    I felt bad.  Really bad. Now what do I do?

My sister Gina tried her best to pull out the magic wand she has long used since I was a child.  “Big sister” wanted to see my mom and I as much as we wanted to see her and her little rascals.  When we were children, for some odd reason, I looked to her to bring magic to my day and zap away some of my many childhood disgruntlement (is this a word?).  One simple Concomini story of hers (no doubt one she’d quickly made up and tailored to my particular situation) would have me flying on my way with a big smile to trample my growing-pain dupes.  The girl always carried something mystical special about her (Yeah, and sometimes a bag of bull-doodoo too).  ;)

My sister Gina pulled every string she could pull on her end in Suva (except the one hanging from the Fijian prime minister’s sulu)– and the girl knows how to pull some very powerful and influential strings–but didn’t manage to get us on that plane.  The agent at the counter made a few more phone calls, but the Fijian immigration folks in Nadi did not budge.  And for some odd reason, that woman looked very pleased too.

I felt bad.  Okay, very bad.  Again and again.  Like…what was I thinking?  The world is my playground?  So I don’t have it like that.  Too many damn boarders, rules, regulations, and pre-requisites, I told myself…  After 10:40 p.m. or so, when the ticketing counters closed, I looked at my mom (who was still checked into sweet LaLa Land) and told her we were not getting on that plane.   At the same time my sister Gina called, still trying to work her special thing behind the scene, and still nothing worked.

If anything, Gina managed to patch up our pain of loss, she is usually good at this too.  After this, mother and I headed over to the Renaissance Hotel for some rest, not having a concrete plan other than waiting for the Sun to shine the next day.  That particular airline only flies 3 days a week to Fiji.  We checked into that hotel and took time to breathe–albeit much smog and stale air, but we were breathing.

To make a long story very short (I think), the next morning we called immigration in Washington as we were advised to do by ‘ole girl at the ticketing counter.  These folks didn’t budge either.  They said we needed a good two weeks to get the ball rolling.  Okay, this is all on Gina now, I told mother.  So we spent two days in the hotel, nearly holding our breaths, waiting for my sister to part the blooming Red Sea and help us cross over to a time zone where we would skip a day.

It was Tuesday evening in Los Angeles, and Wednesday in Suva, Fiji.  My sister had a few hours to work out something that would take weeks to do.  We checked out of the hotel, but stuck around waiting for a fax of a visa that we could give to the ticketing agent at the airline’s counter for her to set us free.  My mother was patient and quiet for the most part, she had decided it was best to remain in LaLa Land, but from time to time she’d come out and say (with a angry frown), “I came all the way here (Honduras to New Orleans to LA) to see my child and I can’t see her.”

It sunk my heart.  Deeper and deeper into the abyss of the ocean we were supposed to have already crossed.  “I am sorry mom,” I’d say to her.   I could give her a stale apology until “Jesus comes,” but it was not enough for me.  The guilt of running off to LAX without a visa was killing me as much as that look from the airline ticketing agent on Sunday night.

I truly believe things happens for a reason.  In this universe there is no disconnect.  There is also a natural ebb and flow, and a reason for their rhythm.  Lord knows I’ve conjured up a list of excuses for my absent-mindedness that some countries do require a visa to enter.  Since I am not an American Citizen (I know… Shameful!), I have to work a bit harder to get in the front door (or maybe the back door as you will see) of any country with travel restrictions.

It was 8:30 pm on Tuesday, and we were still sitting on the edge of our seats in the hotel lobby waiting for that blessed fax.  Tension was high.  I knew if Gina could not drop her charming spell in a timely manner, on the right spot on the chest of that immigration officer in Suva, we’d be dragging bags all the way to Honduras.

“There is a lot happening behind the scene,” said my brother-in-law as we called him for comfort and reassurance that Gina (not the timeliest sibling in my family pool) was trying her best to work things out for us.  We were told to have faith and so we resigned to do so.  After all, we had nothing else going for us.  A few minutes later, we were rejoicing in that we got our visas, jumped on the hotel courtesy shuttle, and headed to the line to get checked in.

Image 12Lawd!  Please do not let that same lady call us…  This was the only fear I had at the moment.  Surely she still had her negative list with her, but I quickly put on a confident attitude, pulled over my hoodie (camouflage), put on my reading glasses, said a prayer, and a few other miracles happened this night: a nice Fijian woman called our number; she did not charge us an arm and two front teeth for our luggage, and she let us travel with the carry-ons we had (FREE)!  Our experience with this pleasant Fijian woman was also commotion-free.

OYE!  As we traveled through the process at LAX trying to get to the plane (wheelchair, cart, bus, wheelchair, to second terminal), my mother looked up at me and said, “Things happen for a reason.”  “Yes, ma’am,” I replied, and I knew she had picked some other reason other than the obvious one, the one where I too had checked into LaLa Land (not bothering with getting those visas) right after purchasing our tickets two weeks prior to our departure to Fiji.