by: Lanisha Porter
As I do often, I was navigating my regular commute from Kentucky to New York to head back to school. Everything was going exceptionally well on this day...security clearance was a breeze, the TSA agents made me laugh as they wished me well wishes for a great semester, and I even managed to meet an attorney who offered me a chance to shadow him that summer. Everything was normal. I went from Kentucky to Washington, then Washington to my final destination. As I landed at LaGuardia, I went to baggage claim, retrieved my luggage without any problems and proceeded to Grand Central. I arrived at Grand Central Station and headed to the ticket window to purchase a train ticket. Throughout my trip, I had managed to oddly store $17 inside my phone case; which I NEVER do. But on that particular day I did. Anywho, in an attempt to be courteous, I hurriedly moved from the ticket window so the other patrons could be helped. Besides, Grand Central was crawling with AT LEAST a couple of thousand people so I was trying to break free of the chaos. My train was departing in 9 minutes.
Fast forward 10 minutes into my train ride, I reached down to get my second phone. Well, I noticed my purse was missing. "This can't be right" I thought, so I proceeded to look under the seat. Not there. I jumped up in panic startling the other passengers. I ran up and down the aisles...no purse. Suddenly, a cloud of doom lured over as I realized what had happened. I left my purse at the ticket counter in GCS with thousands of other people.
I told the train attendant I needed to get off the train like NOW. He informed me that that was impossible and that I'd have to wait until the next stop at 125th and Harlem. All I could think about was my belongings inside the purse....ALL of my academic work dating back to middle school on my thumb drives, the manuscript of my second book, all of my notebooks that held my professional ideas, my other phone, my state ID, my school ID, my passport, my work keys (which are $200 per key), my RA badge, my charger, and most of all: almost $10,000 between cash, credit cards and debit cards. I had NOTHING. It then dawned on me at that point that I could not MOVE in New York without any money. Let alone, buy my books for the semester.
At this point I immediately started praying and asking me God to cover me. I tried to remember Gods power and I believed he would have favor over me. I was praying aloud and I was not being modest about it. I was praying like I had never prayed before, unabashed. The guy next to me explained that there was no need in going back because the purse was definitely gone. His undertone was very clear that I was naive in believing I would retrieve my purse back after leaving it in Grand Central Station. I didn't respond...I just kept praying and keeping the little faith I had dwindling in my heart. An older man on the train noticed my crisis and offered me a train ticket to get back to Grand Central Station. I humbly thanked him and rushed off the train. Now, I was faced with a tough decision; wait 20 minutes for another train? Or hop in a taxi that I may not have enough money to pay for? My faith is big so I go with the latter option. I explained to the driver I only had $17 dollars and I needed him to get me as close as possible to GCS. At this point, I had been gone from my purse for approx. 40 minutes; the chances were high that I'd never see it again and someone was running up my credit-line.
I kept praying and believing in all the good energy of the universe. I had turned the back seat of his mans taxi into a worship session. He was annoyed. And I was becoming anxious because the meter was quickly coming up on $17. The driver was stopping at every yellow light and was absolutely killing me. Tears were forming in the mantle of my eyes but I was trying not to cry yet. I asked the man, " do you have a daughter?" He replied yes. I explained to him that I too was someone's daughter and right now I was in need of help just as he would want someone to help his daughter. I asked him to get me to GCS just a bit quicker in hopes I could retrieve my purse. He continued to go slow and had written me off. I just kept praying. From 117th street to 42nd street, I prayed and promised GOD if he got me out of this, I would be more of a faithful servant and worshipper. Finally we came up on 45th street, the taxi meter says $15. Then, MY GOD...we pulled up to Grand Central Station and the meter came up to $16.30 exactly as my final dues. I had JUST enough to cover the fee. Listen, I NEVER EVER carry money in my phone case but today there was a unique impulse to put some there. And what are the odds I would store $17 there?! Some would call this a coincidence, I say God. I thanked the driver tremendously, and run into the train station.
Please keep in mind I was still hauling two luggage bags with me. I went to the window where I believe I had left my purse and asked the cashier had a purse been turned in. Tears started streaming down my face as I'm prepared to hear the worst, but was hoping God had intervened and had prepared the best. Everyone at this point was looking at me as though I was completely crazy but I could care less. But hold on, my story gets LESS dignified, and LESS prideful. She told me that my purse had been turned into police custody and directed me to the police station. My stomach crumbled and I broke down while shouting many thanks to God and lifting my hands. A serious praise break in the middle of Grand Central Station was in order. I don't even do this type of thing in church because I've never felt THAT compelled to. But I didn't care how I looked, I didn't care how loud I was, I didn't even care if I was in someones way, and I sure didn't care who thought poorly of my religious behavior . I honestly hadn't even cared that they found the purse, I was at a lost for all the immaterial contents inside the purse that was important to my professional development, academic success and of course, everyday functions. I was almost stranded in NY with no money, and no identification. I felt naked, empty and stripped. The only warmth of hope I felt was knowing that God could possibly make a way for me in this disaster.
Further, I was sprinting to the police station and by my hysterical crying, upon arriving they asked me, "Are you Lanisha from Kentucky?" I couldn't even breathe from crying so hard. After 30-45 minutes I was reunited with my purse. I was also pleased to find my wallet which still contained my ids, cards, cash, secondary phone, and thumb drives. The kindness I was handled with really....touched me. After being escorted to my train and telling the officer I had traveled back all the way from Harlem, the officer said I can tell you are a kind person and paid for my train ticket so I didn't have to buy a ticket twice. My story was NOT supposed to turn out how it did on this day. Logical sense says one of those many people should have ransacked my purse and exhausted every dollar in it and stole my cards; and maybe throw away my thumb drives just to be mean. BUT GOD! I truly trusted him and he turned a situation of odds in my favor. I literally had no money, no ID to pick up any money from Western Union, no charger, no anything. Horrible experience to show me the importance in trusting God...and not just a little bit but with your whole self. The man on the train told me to give up when I started praying.
People are maybe telling you to give up while you are praying about something in your life. I beg you to please stay bound and invested in trusting God. He will deliver and the devil will flee. I know people think religion is the opiate of the masses; that God and Jesus are both illusions to compensate for harsh realities and surrogate feelings of joy—I get it, I too am an intellectual and hear those arguments. But, GOD is REAL. As I was headed to my school on the train I wrote this on the whim of my shock, tremendous anxiety, and uneasiness, not to brag but to show you how REAL GOD is. I can't see this and not spread the vision. I promised to be a more faithful servant and worshipper off the back of this, and I will keep that promise to my Father.
Moreover, I asked the police officer that patiently and kindly helped me, to give me his Commanding and Executive Officers information as I would be writing them to inform them of the phenomenal level of security and professionalism I was shown that night while being so vulnerable. Though it is unfortunate, we live in a society where it is extremely suspicious and dangerous to leave unknown baggage in public spaces. So given the state of our political climate, I was later told that a police officer was immediately notified to report with a K-9 bomb threat dog to confiscate my purse.
To me that entire experience was the eye opener that allowed me to know God truly covers His children. He got my attention and I heard Him loud and clear like never before on this day. No series of random events align out of a spirit of coincidence; it aligns so you may come to understand the very unique spirit and power of God Himself. #Believer
Welcome to my views from this horizon!