A Really, Really Bad Five Minutes

by Kevin on May 18, 2016

We were in China getting our two boys that we adopted and had just got off the bullet train. Riding a train traveling 200 mph is super cool. What wasn’t cool is how my day was ruined even faster.
We had got off the train and found our guide. She was the sweetest little lady you ever saw and we were very excited to get the second boy. As we were walking through the train station, I stopped and yelled, “Oh shit!”
I’m not bragging. I’m not proud. I didn’t plan it. I’m just being honest in repeating it. Everyone stopped and looked at me. Well, everyone in my little group that is. My wife, sensing that something was wrong, grabbed my arm and worriedly inquired what was wrong.
Where is the bag of snacks?
She looked around and said, “I don’t see it. Who was supposed to have it?”
“Me!” I said.
We had been given a bunch of snacks for Jake (the oldest child we had already received) and packed them in a big red gift bag. We started double checking the little luggage cart we had and looking twice at everything we were carrying. It wasn’t like it wasn’t the only red bag and easily seen, but we looked and looked anyway.
Finally, Vivian (our guide) said, “We can get more snacks. It’s ok.”
Christie and I looked at each other with dread in our eyes as my wife explained. “Well, all the adoption certificates we need to get Jake out of the country are in that bag.”
Vivian’s eyes went wide and she asked, “Why would you put such important documents in the snack bag?”
“Because that’s where they fit…,” we explained sheepishly.
I had grabbed the bag and taken it to the front of our train car and sat the bag down in an empty seat. I grabbed all the luggage from the bins and walked right out. It wasn’t a bag that we started with and so it was easily forgotten about in the bustle. We had three minutes to get off the train with all our luggage and a blind kid. Things were a little hectic.
Vivian jumped into save mode and got our tickets. She called the train station and for the next hour she was on the phone, speaking in rapid-fire Chinese. Much like our country, every person she talked to gave her another number to call.
Finally, after arriving at our hotel, she got a phone call back that they couldn’t find the bag on our train that was now headed for Beijing. She asked them to look again and my growing apprehension was starting to boil over. This was a very big deal.
I just sat there numb with fear, doubt, and anger. I wanted someone to blame and honestly I was looking for anyone that I might take my anger out upon. My wife could see what was happening and she walked over to where I sat in the hotel room and sat down in my lap.
She said, “Don’t let one mistake ruin your day. There is absolutely nothing we can do except trust in God. Let’s put our energy into that instead of fueling that fire I see raging inside you.”
“Ok,” I said.
About that time, as I was praying, Vivian’s cell phone rang. She spoke quickly in Chinese and then hung up the phone. She looked at me and said, “They found it. I can pick it up when the train comes back from Beijing.”
I bet I thanked God five thousand times between then and bedtime. As I was praying that night, I told God that it had been a bad day. That’s when he seemed to ask me, “Was it a bad day? Or was it a bad five minutes that you milked all day?”
I responded with, “Actually, it was a great day. I learn more and more to trust you. When I really think about it, I’m not in control of one single thing—today was the greatest example I’ve experienced in a long time. I did learn this though: There are good days and bad days. The good days are good and the bad days give you the best stories…so either way, it’s all good. And so are you God.”
bad day
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