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The Good Luck Buddha

By Julie Whitmer –

My brother-in-law is a world traveler. Many years back, he returned from a trip to Malaysia and bestowed upon us a green cardboard backed photograph of a woman with a gold-tone leaf over the top and said (in his very David, matter-of-fact way) “it’s a Good Luck Buddha.”

Now, I’m not a particularly superstitious type, but it did seem kind of curious that within days of our jokingly placing it on the counter next to the phone in our La Quinta home we experienced a burst of good luck… Scott got a call offering him a new job in Portland.

Everything happened so quickly. Scott went on ahead and started his job, while I cleared out, sold, and pack up our desert home. Within sixty days, I said goodbye to Southern California, the only home I’d ever known, and headed to the great, rain-soaked (sorry I couldn’t help myself) Pacific Northwest to start anew.

I carried that Good Luck Buddha on board the airplane with all of our other irreplaceable items (Drew’s baby book, birth certificates, social security cards, etc.), it was NOT going to be packed in some box or somehow get destroyed in the move.

But, when we got to Portland, I couldn’t find it.

I tore through my carry-on about a hundred times and then finally became convinced that I must have accidentally shoved it in a magazine and left it in the hotel where we stayed that first night…thoughtlessly sandwiched between the pages of a trashy People magazine (the kind I only allow myself to glance at in a doctor’s waiting room or to kill time on a plane ride…honestly).

I even went back to the hotel the following week and spoke with the manager, wondering aloud if perhaps it was in housekeeping lost and found. Bad luck…it was gone forever.

Within a year, the company Scott worked for filed for bankruptcy. Even though the division he ran flourished, it simply couldn’t sustain the overall debt of the company as a whole. So, there we were, in Portland, far from our family support system, with a mortgage, bills, preschool expenses, car payments, and without a major source of income.

When I heard that David was taking a return trip to Malaysia I asked him to try to find another Buddha…in a weak attempt to recapture our good luck mojo. But, he (to show you how much stock he actually placed in the thing) didn’t even remember what it looked like, so no such luck.

Scott worked tirelessly to find a new job and I never wavered in my confidence that he’d find something great. I’m an optimist by nature and must have said, both out loud and to myself, “everything is going to work out” about a thousand times during that tough period.

And then came the call. Scott’s previous boss had a job he might be interested in, “but (and he actually hesitated) it’s in San Diego”. “But” nothing! San Diego: sunny, warm, beaches, USC football games, year-round OUTDOOR tennis, a mere two hour drive from our family and friends…an opportunity and location too perfect to decline.

After 3 years of being happily settled again in Southern California, I had all but forgotten about that cardboard backed trinket. However, in early July I was sorting through our personal documents. I pulled out a file and as I flipped through it noticed a green hue coming from the inside of a cream colored envelope. AND there it was…tucked in with a commemorative “certificate of birth” sent to my parents from Desert Hospital when I was born. Naturally, I had put it inside that envelope for the plane ride to Portland, an extra layer of protection for the safest of safe keeping. I gasped and laughed out loud “GOOD LUCK BUDDHA!!”

Good Luck Buddha

As I said, I’m not superstitious, but I have to say I like the way she works.

When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.  – Alexander Graham Bell

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