Evelyn O. Shih

I find myself traveling several times a year. On a recent homeward bound flight, I was already worrying about the short interval of 22 days before my next trip. I needed to finish one issue of Steering mag. , in addition to sorting all of my mail and preparations for future traveling. I prayed to God for the message I would write in this column.

On the third day after returning home, I discovered that I had misplaced my passport. Without a passport, I couldn’t buy airline tickets. I searched all the possible places including the pockets of my coat and jacket.

In the meantime, I scolded myself for such carelessness and even wondered whether this was the beginning of my senility. The most frustrating part of this incident was that I didn’t have time to deal with this accident. Furthermore, I couldn’t wait for the lost item to reappear on its own time, as is the usual case in such situations.

The lost passport occupied all my thoughts. Suddenly, it became the most important thing in my life. No wonder the shepherd who had lost one sheep would leave the other ninety-nine in the open country while he searched for the missing one. He couldn’t wait until he drove them all home. Likewise, the woman who had lost one silver coin couldn’t wait for tomorrow. She would light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she found the missing coin.

The father who had lost his son suffered even more. He couldn’t eat or sleep. He would not work in the fields. Instead he stood, day after day, on the knoll by his house, watching every traveler until he saw his son coming home in rages. Only then could the father kill the fattened calf and sit down to enjoy the feast.

I rushed to the passport office the day after I discovered the passport missing. My pleas for help, however, were of no use. According to the passport officials, I didn’t have enough proof that the passport was truly lost. I learned that my situation would have been easier if I had been robbed and had reported the stolen passport to the police. Furthermore, I was informed that I did not have enough identification to get a replacement passport, as I also hadn’t been able to find my certificate of naturalization.

I returned home to conduct a more thorough search. This time I searched all of my filing cabinets. Praise the Lord! I found the expired passport and after paying a $95.00 emergency fee, I received a new passport on my third trip to the passport office.

” God is really humorous,” I thought. After all these frustrations it finally dawned on me that this was the message He wanted me to write about. My message is not about any theory, nor does it contain advice to others. My message is a story of real experience in life and the learning process which resulted.