Not all luggage that wanders, is lost.
Well, I arrived home late last night from Artfest...exhausted, inspired and believe it or not once again (for the second time on this trip) without my luggage. I know, you must be thinking "Oh, no!" but actually there has been something quite valuable in all this adversity.
When I first arrived in Seattle last Wednesday without my art supplies, toiletries and clothes, I felt very vulnerable and frustrated. However, the frustration was partially diffused by the generous and entertaining spirit of a very special United Airways employee named Glenn. As I watched him engage with each one of the 7 of us from Edmonton, whose luggage loitered behind, I couldn't help but see how his genuine interest in our lives and his inquiring questions about our reasons for being in Seattle, made our experiences far less painful. I actually left the lost luggage counter feeling pretty good, kind of like a traveler again with just my backpack loaded with the few special things I had chosen to bring on board.
Perhaps my frustration was also softened because Artfest is truly a remarkable art retreat. When I arrived and people discovered my luggage was "delayed", I experienced the most generous outpouring of support imaginable—donated art supplies and toiletries, daily concerns of my luggage status and then huge cheers of joy when it was finally delivered on Friday afternoon. Also, spending the time with Tracy while collecting my bags, allowed us the opportunity to have a wonderful conversation that probably would have never happened otherwise and I was able to see just how much he and Teesha do care about everyone that comes to their festival retreats.The shuttle dropped everyone off at the airport Sunday morning but my flight wasn't to leave till 8 pm. I didn't really feel like hanging out at the airport all day so I thought I would try to get on an earlier flight and went to the one ticket counter open where I could change my flight....and guess who was working there? Glenn from the lost luggage counter! Out of all the United Airways employees (there most be hundreds in Seattle), I find it interesting that he's helped me twice. We laughingly caught up on all the lost luggage and Artfest news and he strategically changed my flights without charging me a thing. This time when I arrived in Edmonton at 10:30 and my luggage didn't, I sighed and just went straight to the lost luggage counter and then caught a taxi home with only my backpack.
It was then that I suddenly realized that "losing my luggage" was a valuable part of my wonderful experience at Artfest. Among other things, it gave me a reason to fully engage with the people around me, to be open to the moment for what it was (instead of what I thought it would or should be), and especially to let go of expectations and outcomes in my art even more, which I believe is crucial as an artist.
Oh...I have to go get the door, there's my luggage now.