By: Gabriela Yareliz
I was lost. And there was no worse time to be lost. I was clutching my Ziploc bag filled with pencils and a pencil sharpener. I had no phone and no watch. I had no phone or watch because I was on my way to take an exam that banned phones or watches on the premises. I thought this would be a piece of cake. I had looked up the directions, but little did I know the street of my supposed location had two names, and I was going in the opposite direction.
So, back to the story. I was on my way to an exam with no phone and just pencils, and I was lost.
I wandered out of the train station at the stop I thought would be mine. I walked and walked. The morning was cool and cloudy. I walked until I realized I was in a business district. There was no way I was going to take my exam in any of those buildings. I stopped in front of a building where I found a young and hip looking Asian guy, and I asked him about my destination. “You are in the wrong place, ” he told me, confirming my fears.
“You are lost Gabby, ” I said to myself standing there. It’s still early, I reasoned with myself. So, I walked back to the train station to try to figure this out.
I went back in the train. I was nervous. I kept asking people with phones whether I was going the right way. One girl was kind enough to get off at a stop with me so she could get signal on her phone to access the map and show me. God bless her. Finally, I was on my way to take my exam. My seat ticket said that if I got to the testing center any later than 8:30, I would not be admitted.
I was trapped in a train in a random neighborhood, and it was 8:15. The train went dark, and the overhead speaker said, “We are sorry, we are delayed because of train traffic ahead. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We will be moving momentarily.” The train was completely still. I was staring at the digital clock, whose 8:16 reading was burning into my retinas.
I was probably going to start hyperventilating or maybe I was hyperventilating. I was praying, that is for sure. I was upset. I thought, “God, I am not going to make this exam. And it’s ironic because I am here today, missing school because I keep the Sabbath to honor you. So, I had to go through hoops to get this exam date, and now I am not going to make it. Without this exam, I can’t get a job in California (which is where my score was going). I am UNEMPLOYED God. I need this.” Just as I felt I was going to cry, I looked at a woman in front of me. She was reading an outline of notes for the exam I was going to take. I observed her though, and she had all the exam contraband. She was wearing headphones, she had a huge purse, food, lipstick, and notes. I kept reading off of her outline until I decided to ask, “Are you going to the exam?” She turned and smiled at me. She said yes. I asked her if she was nervous about the fact that we weren’t going to make it. She told me not to worry, that we were going to make it. I asked her where she was from, and she told me she had just come from Texas. The train jolted, and we began to move. It was 8:22.
The woman I had just met was calm. When we reached our stop (the last one on the line, of course), we started to run like mad women together through the neighborhood until we found our testing location. Because watches were banned from the exam, I had no way of know what time it was. They let us in. I was sure we were either late or God stopped the clock. It made no sense.
I was nervous and jittery from the morning commotion. I had it clear in my head that I needed a California jurisdiction passing score. After the exam, I exited the testing center at the same time as the woman I had met on the train. She gave me her information so I could find her on LinkedIn, and we parted ways.
I will never fully understand what happened that day. The truth is, I never found the woman I met on the train (and I am good at finding people, I am a journalist and lawyer, no less). My score never went to California (broken taco dreams, I know). I never went to California, myself.
That day, when I was hyperventilating on the train and telling God how unemployed I was, I didn’t even see what was coming. You see, I had plans and a list of things that were going to happen in a certain sequence. God doesn’t work according to our plans.
A month later, I got a job. It was double of anything I had seen or applied for. It was what I wanted if I knew I could have asked for it. It came out of nowhere. My career adviser at school passed the information along.
Do you know where my job is? It’s in the place where I got off the train in the beginning, and I said, “Gabby, you are lost.” In that moment, I was standing in front of my place of employment. The exact building. When I saw this later, I got chills. I smiled at the irony. God always gives us the very best. Sometimes, when we think we are lost, we are exactly where God wants us to be.