September 8, 2012

Midnight Drama: Ransacking The House

I planned to sleep the night before our ten year anniversary trip. Instead I watched my husband in a burst of energy and frustration tear the house apart. He worked late that night, trying to wrap up each detail in preparation for two weeks of meetings and vacation in Abu Dhabi and London.

It was midnight before we realized we had a problem. When pulling together our travel documents, Tymon's passport wasn't where it should be. I knew that a couple of days before, but since he had asked me for my passport to make a copy of it, I unfortunately assumed he was in possession of his.

So the ransacking of our home ensued. I'd like to think we left no corner or stack of papers unsearched, but the fact remains that this passport still hasn't made an appearance. Perhaps it doesn't want to be found. Or maybe we need a lesson in humility. 

Tymon only asked me once why I hadn't said anything about his passport not being with mine. He wasn't blaming me. Just pleading to understand. I racked my brain to remember any detail I could that could guide our search. 

I knelt down and prayed with faith for help. Tymon felt too weak to join me. We were asking for a miracle. One that needed to be answered immediately. And in a very specific way. I knew Heavenly Father would guide us. 

We've put a lot of preparation into this trip. Tymon with meeting and presentation details. Me with family considerations and travel arrangements. We are grateful for our family and friends who so graciously responded to our request to care for our children. Without them life would be a lot more difficult than it already is. With them, we are richly blessed. Our boys are fully prepared to help with chores. They promised to be on their best behavior. Angels. Yes, Heavenly Father will definitely help us carry out our plans.

Tymon went to bed about two in the morning. He hadn't packed yet. Nor had I for that matter. But my suitcase was out and my undies in it. So already it was better than my last trip. That time I brought everything except undergarments. And a swim suit. Why is it that the smallest details are the most important? 

We had planned to leave the house about 8:30am. Despair is not an emotion I'm familiar with. Not until I saw the resignation on Tymon's face. And the slump in his posture as he fell into bed. This could cost him his job. No, we're not getting out of this one on our own. We need help. Now.

Remember that time when Tymon's grandfather died? Probably not, since it was around the time I first started blogging. Here's the short version. Tymon wanted to fly to Canada to go to the funeral. I would have been home alone. Well not alone. I had four boys under four with me. I was pregnant with Jocelyn. I probably had something going on with work since I didn't suggest we all go. I did ask Tymon take Jett. He was a busy bot under two and could fly free. 

Driving across the Canadian border needs no passport...but flying does. So, I got an appointment at the Seattle Passport Agency to get Jett a passport. Somehow with funerals, exceptions are made and documents can be made quickly. It was maybe an hour and a half from the time we entered and exited the building, with passport in hand. 

Hoping the same could work for Tymon and he could get an appointment first thing in the morning, I called the US State Department's 24-hour line. I hung up after hearing the first available time was September 11th. This won't do.

So, if we can't do it on our own, then surely we know someone who knows someone that can help. Nope. My Facebook plea for anyone with State Department connections yielded no results...probably because I was making it at a time of day when the entire United States is asleep. Everyone but me. The mother looking forward to a trip with just her husband and no kids.

At times when decision making becomes important, I like to consider options with the formula: If X , then Y (with Y equaling the worst thing that could happen). For me, Y meant going on Tymon's business trip without Tymon. But I was still going. We have too much money into my non-refundable plane ticket to not go. Bottom line, we need a passport.

The State Department opens at 8 am for us to talk with a real person. Eastern time. Yes! That buys us a few extra hours. I quietly told Tymon as he lay in bed. With no other options, he set his alarm for 5am. 

I started packing the rest of my things...stopping here and there to organize a new stack of stuff I hadn't gone through yet. Still no passport. 

Five o'clock came. Tymon had a dream that we found the passport. The weight lifted off him and he felt relief and peace. We were praying a prayer of gratitude when the alarm went off. The negative feelings came rushing down on him. As I put my arms around him and he shared his dream, I felt impressed that we should offer that same prayer. Just because it hadn't happened yet, doesn't mean that we shouldn't be grateful for it in advance. 

We got out of bed. A promising start when hope has dwindled.

Talking to the State Department was less than ideal. The lady advised against Tymon going to the office for a standby appointment. Someone would need to miss their appointment for them to squeeze him in. But she did put him on the cancellations list. 

Tymon packed his bags. Graeden and Elliott woke up. In a last ditch effort to find the passport we offered them $10 if they could find it in the two minutes before Tymon left. They couldn't. I upped it to $20. Tymon left the house just before 7am to try standby. We had no other option. 

Sometimes we must take one step into the darkness before we see the light. A State Department representative called Tymon just before 8 and told him to get down there. Traffic was bad. It's a good thing he was already halfway there. 

I dropped off the boys and took Kira to her new home and drove to my office. Having been 26+ hours without sleep, driving was dangerous and I struggled to keep my eyes open and mind alert. My brother drove me to the airport, a kindness that I'm convinced saved my life...and maybe the lives of others I would have hit had I fallen asleep at the wheel.

There are a few more details that worked out miraculously with his application. Long story shorter, Tymon was on the road, passport in hand by 10:30am. Our flight leaves at 11:40. I got text updates throughout the morning from Tymon. The timing made me nervous. Parking, checking luggage, long security lines.

I thought I'd be okay traveling alone. My anxiety proved it otherwise. I've never been to the Middle East. The many women in that part of the world who are struggling with basic inequalities weighs heavy on my mind. Even though United Arab Emerites is not as strict as Saudi Arabia and I don't need to wear a head scarf or burqa, the unknown is frightening to me.

We met up a few minutes before boarding. Never fully believing he'd make our flight until he was at the gate. A true miracle. One that needed specific timing.  One that relied on the goodwill of government workers who hear sob stories everyday and ignore them. One that we thanked God for before it happened.

I'm grateful for hope. And having the courage to act despite the probability that there wouldn't physically be enough time to accomplish what we really needed. 

We haven't always gotten the miracles we sought. But this day, we did. Heavenly Father hears our prayers. He knows our needs before we realize them ourselves. He started answering this one before we asked. So it's really not so unusual to thank Him in advance.

Read Tymon's story here.

7 Riveting COMMENTS:

  1. I am so happy you made it safely to Abu Dhabi. Now... relax, and enjoy your stay. Have an amazing time. =] <3 Love you

  2. I read this story while holding my breath. I thought I knew the outcome, but still felt the weight of it all. I finished with my eyes welling a bit. I've felt that comforting hand more than once in my life, the reassuring peace. I am thankful for the reminder this morning that a loving Heavenly Father knows us and loves us individually.

  3. I'm glad all worked out. Heavenly Father does indeed bless us. Hope you are having fun!

  4. What a great, if somewhat terrifying story!

    I hope you're aware you'll find the "original" passport within 5 minutes of coming home. Do tell where it had been hiding...

  5. I am getting choked up reading this, and then recounting it to my hubby. How wonderful to know that He hears and answers prayers. Have a great trip!

  6. "We said our goodbyes and had a pleasant trip together to the airport and took off on schedule." Why don't things always go like that?

    But then you would have missed out on a spiritual and faith promoting experience and a good story to boot.

    Enjoy your trip together. So sorry everything else on your journey will be so anticlimactic.

    I recall about ten or 12 years ago searching everywhere for our passports into the night just hours before leaving for a cruise. I found it in a semi-logical place in our office in Everett. Not so down to the minute as you. I'm glad I didn't know your plight until after the fact.

    Tymon will be wise to store his passport with yours so you both know where they are.

  7. You may not see this until you get back, but I hope you have a great time! I'm so glad everything worked out. It's a good reminder for me today!


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