Imagination is a wonderful asset, but at times it can be a burden, especially if it is out of control and predicting disasters. And my imagination is well-exercised in discovering horrors where none exist. This morning, when I heard the airline agent say that there is no more room in the overhead bins, and can passengers please volunteer to check their luggage, I decided, as we say in Hebrew, to heal the bruise before the injury happened, and checked my little sports bag.
Perhaps I should be honest and start a little earlier, with the challah and banana bread I had baked for Dar. I didn’t want them to get squished under all my stuff, so I put them in a plastic bag and carried it — a third carry-on — through security and all the way up to the gate. Being a law-abiding citizen, however, and having an imagination that can’t help but predict catastrophes (and make them seem illogically huge), I stressed about being told that I cannot bring this third plastic bag onto the airplane.
Once those officially-clad gals behind the counter announced the no-room-please-check-your-luggage message over the air, my fears would not let me stay seated, bundled up as I was with three parcels while the rest of the world was forced to carry only one. The agent was quite surprised, to tell the truth. She feebly tried to refuse my little sports bag, but I explained about having my backpack with me, and she gave up, shrugging at the crazy lady who checks in such a small bag when other people attempt to squeeze enormous, industrial-sized suitcases into the narrow bins.
Instantly regrets assailed me. Had I let my fears overcome my common sense by giving up my bag? What if it gets lost?What if there is room in the overhead bins after all? What if we have to wait for a very long time for the bag to come out at the carousel?
I texted the confession of my frailty to Dar, but for some reason he did not get upset. He texted me back that Rochester is a small airport, no problem, and the transfer in Chicago is sure to go well. And suddenly, it dawned on me — here is an opportunity for a moment of gratitude. In the midst of regret, over-imagination, anxiety and perceived disaster, I can be grateful for having one less bag to carry in Chicago while I switch planes!
The sun rose in my internal sky. My heart lightened. I had found a remedy for my regrets! Opening myself up to gratitude shifted my entire mood. Here was a way to turn bad (or at least perceived bad) into good. Next on my list for today, turning straw into gold. And, just to conclude, my bag came out of the carousel first.