Thanks A Lot

As the clock ticks closer to Christmas Eve, I recognize that we are indeed in the season of giving thanks. While generally give thanks for health, happiness, and more embarrassingly, the promotion, the bonus, the new person that entered our life; sometimes, that thanks can take another, more practical form. For it is the little things that add up to big things. In my case, the proverbial little thing came in the way of a lost and found bag.

Yes, the one thing that holiday travelers fear the most: "I'm sorry ma'am, we can't seem to find your bag anywhere in the system."

To be more specific, I tried to bring a bag with me on my flight down to Florida, which the good woman (who was not filled with holiday cheer) at the US Air gate told me was "one inch too big" to fit overhead. She did, however,  offer me the 'courtesy' (quotes intended) of a curbside check to my final destination. After a brief back and forth, I reluctantly relinquished my carry-on size roller bag full of six days worth of clothes for my trip to Florida and walked down the jetway to my seat.

Foreshadowing aside, when I got off the plane in Florida, my bag was not on the conveyor belt. I was forced to do the traveler's walk of shame to the US Air claims office where the woman at the desk attempted to track its whereabouts, only to tell me that it was "no where in the system."

As I stood there, assessing the six-day durability of the jeans, scarf, sweater and flats I had opted to wear on the flight, the computer--which was a box style display, not the more modern flat screen set-up we've all grown accustomed to seeing--pinged. The woman told me that my bag was still in my connecting city and that it might be here, in Florida, by 10pm. As I filled out the paperwork, I couldn't help but think of all the planning I'd put in to perfectly selecting, thinning, and ultimately packing a week's worth of stylish, practical and cute outfits into one bag, only to have that bag 'lost in transit.'

Merry Christmas from Florida... 

We gathered our things and left the airport. As I headed to the home where I would spend Christmas with Doug and his family, something clicked inside of me and I had to smile. Here I am, sitting in a car, driving to a home where I will be surrounded by people that love me, underneath a moonlight sky with stars so plentiful that they are too vast to count (and not so easy to see in DC). I have my health, my family, my friends, my passions, and my presence. I am loved and I have people to whom I give my love. Why am I so worked up about a bag of clothes? The question was rhetorical, and the answer was simple: it's just a bag, and it's just clothes inside.

About 90 minutes after I came to this resolution, the good people at White Sands Delivery called and said that my bag had arrived and would be delivered to the house within the hour. A reluctant smile crept across my face and I realized that once again, I had unsuspectingly learned the lesson of holiday gratitude: that it is and forever will be about what we have, not what we do not have. That our blessings are measured in what we are able to do, not by our limitations. That our wealth is measured not in currency, but by the faces of family in friends, we hold dear with each passing year.

So with that, I must pause to give my own holiday thanks. For the bag? Sure. But more so for having yet another subtle realization that the genuine joy we all seek to find, is right there before us and inside of us... sometimes we just need a reminder.