Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More

Lost And Found:

A Tale Of Ownership, Loss, And Triumph

Oxbow Commons, Napa, California, USA

January 4, 2019

"A miracle is something that validates who you are rather than diminishes who you are."  ... 
This essay, Lost And Found: A Tale Of Ownership, Loss, And Triumph, is the fourteenth in a group of sixteen about my daughter Alexandra:
  1. Alexandra
  2. Babe On The Freeway
  3. Light In The Night
  4. Alexandra II
  5. Santa Barbara
  6. True Gold
  7. Goleta Beach
  8. Getting Into Your World
  9. Fly Baby Bird!
  10. Celebration At Essaouira
  11. The Woman She Creates Herself To Be
  12. City Girl
  13. Vocal Prowess
  14. Lost And Found: A Tale Of Ownership, Loss, And Triumph
  15. Girly Girl
  16. My Baby Girl, Now A Bride
in that order.

I am indebted to my daughter Alexandra Lindsey Platt and to Kerece Mahlahla "Kaki" Morrison and to Ernestina "Tina" Tshatshelo who inspired this conversation, and to my daughter Alexandra Lindsey Platt who contributed material.

She was traveling in England and Ireland with her beau, visiting his family in London, taking in the sights, celebrating New Year's eve in Dublin. It was an awesome trip, both for them as well as (vicariously) for me: for them clearly, and for me because while she'll forever be my baby girl, she's now a well seasoned global traveler. The love between a father and his daughter, is something fierce. The satisfaction of having raised her so that she now runs her own life well without me, is immense.

Concept by Laurence Platt

Exertec Health and Fitness Center, Napa, California, USA

1:15:01pm Saturday January 5, 2019
Lost rollaboard
Somewhere at Heathrow airport while they waited to board their return flight home, her rollaboard disappeared. One minute it was there, by her side. The next minute it wasn't. Gone. Vanished. Disappeared. Did she forget it somewhere? Don't know. Did someone take it, mistaking it for their own? Don't know. Did someone steal it? Don't know. What we do know for sure is it was gone, split, skit, skedoodle, and boarding for the flight back to Los Angeles was starting in less than a half hour. As the gravity of the situation dawned, a deep, darkening panic set in.

She ran this way and that, through the terminal, near where they were sitting in the waiting area, back into the duty free shops she visited when she had it with her last, in and out of the restroom and everything in between, until through "This can't  be happening ...", the horrible realization came that yes this is  happening. Fortunately she carried her passport and ticket in a separate purse, and was able to board the flight after telling the boarding agent what happened. But the rollaboard was gone, and with it many expensive and irreplacable possessions.

Their flight home passed slowly in a cloud (no pun intended) of hopelessness, sadness, and (as she would share with me later) a sense of utter defeat, all compounded by her chastising herself unrelentingly, mercilessly for losing the rollaboard. Their wonderful visit to the United Kingdom was suddenly and rudely wonderful no more (or at least its ending wasn't). The future suddenly didn't look too bright either.

When I grew up South Africa, my parents employed two women full time. Kerece Mahlahla "Kaki" Morrison was our cook, and Ernestina "Tina" Tshatshelo was our housekeeper. When my siblings and I left our parents' home, there was no longer a need for either position, and with heartfelt goodbyes, Kaki and Tina returned to their homes in the Transkei  where I subsequently visited them. One day I asked Kaki about Tina. She told me Tina had died. Tears sprang to my eyes. Tina was family to me. "What happened?" I asked. She told me Tina was traveling on a bus to visit relatives in another area of the Transkei. With her, she had a suitcase. In that one suitcase was all her worldly possessions. I want you to get this: one  suitcase, and in it, everything  she owned in the world (sit with that in your lap like a hot brick for a moment). Somewhere / somehow on the journey, she lost that suitcase. With all her worldly possessions. Tina died, Kaki told me, of a broken heart.

I shared Kaki's story about Tina with my daughter, setting the stage for empathy ie that I got what it was like for her. But more than that, I was setting the stage to begin picking up the pieces and moving on, that inevitable next step after any setback. The flight was uneventful, they landed safely, and she returned to her home in Santa Barbara that night. She said she was sad and wanted to sleep, so I didn't push for further conversation.

Early the next day I was out in our local village for a morning cuppa Joe, putting the finishing touches to an essay in this Conversations For Transformation internet series of essays. I'd left my cellphone in my car. A couple of hours later when I looked at it again, there was a voice message from her. As I entered the sequence to retrieve voicemail, I imagined what I would say to her when I called her back: nothing is irreplacable, I'd like to make a contribution to the expense, this all shows you what's important in life and what isn't, it's an expensive, inconvenient lesson but you'll never make the same mistake again, I love you no matter what ... you know, the usual gang of suspects. I tapped [PLAY] on my visual voicemail app, and listened.

Everything following her words "... found  ... rollaboard  ..." spoken in a clear, level, upbeat tone, all the way through to the end of her message, went by in a blur. I gasped - loudly (they could have heard me exhale down the street by the river), and my eyes opened wide. It was a miracle. From Santa Barbara USA, she found her rollaboard in London England. Wow! Yes I did want to know what happened, and later I would call her to ask. But that was only secondary. Primarily I wanted to acknowledge her for creating such a powerful vortex of intention that she caused something to happen halfway around the world. It's too trite to say "She found her rollaboard.". And to be sure, she did, and that's worth noting. But no: what she did was she caused a miracle to happen. I wanted her to get that. I tapped [CALL].

Photography by Alexandra Lindsey Platt

Santa Barbara, California, USA

6:52:09pm Wednesday January 9, 2019
Found rollaboard
The first thing I said was "Congratulations Girly!", not referring to her finding her rollaboard: rather, referring to her intentionally creating a miracle to get her rollaboard back (the two are worlds apart). She got it. "Thank You Daddy!" she said. She'd risen out of defeat and sadness, enduring them only for as long as she had to, and then got down to the business of getting her rollaboard back. I asked her how she did it.

What she did was she got on the phone, and stayed on the phone. She called to find out who to call at Heathrow. She called Heathrow to find out who to call about a lost article of luggage. She learned the lost and found facility at Heathrow is contracted out to a private enterprise. She called to find out who to call at that private enterprise. Then she called them ... and then she waited on hold for ... two ... hours. I would have uttered a few choice expletive deleteds  after the first hour or less, and hung up. She didn't. She hung on. She intended to find her rollaboard.

When she finally did get through to someone at the Heathrow lost and found facility, a brief conversation ensued (description, details, defining markings etc), more waiting, more on hold, and then "Yes, we have it, Luv" (you may embellish those magic words with your own very best inimitable Queen's English British accent). And the best part is they're sending her rollaboard back, not to Los Angeles where her flight landed, not to a depot in Santa Barbara where she lives, but right to her front door. Look: whichever way you spell it, that  ... my friends, is a miracle.

We still don't know what happened to her rollaboard at Heathrow. In all likelihood, we never will. But here's what we do know: she wasn't stopped or dictated to by the circumstances. The circumstances said to her (and kept on saying to her) "Your rollaboard is lost, get used to it.". She on the other hand, kept on replying "Thank you for sharing, and I'm going to find my rollaboard and get it back, no matter what you say". Then she, putting her money where her mouth is, proceeded to do just that. It was a triumph of epic proportions - a human triumph ("human", because human beings lose things and sometimes find them again) and epic nonetheless.

There's one more thing to bring forth in this context to complete it. It's that bringing intention to bear on our world, without any foreseeble guarantee of success, isn't the ordinary way of doing business. There's another extraordinary world on the other hand, in which getting our hands and feet on the levers and dials and pedals of intention, causes things to happen which ordinarily are considered no-chance  impossible. That's possibility. It's this world I'm committed to introducing to my children.

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