Recently I made a trip home across the Atlantic with my daugher… the first time making the trip without my husband. Perhaps as an act of getting any fears topped straight off, my satchel was lost or stolen during our transfer in Paris. I had stopped in the middle of hords of people because my daughter needed me to carry her in her child backpack. I set my satchel down in the process. I placed my daughter on my back and walked about 25 meters before I realized my satchel was no longer with us. I could barley breath. No passports, credit cards, phone, cash, plane tickets. Nothing. I don’t remember if I ever felt panic before. I won’t say that again unless I lose my memory. Luckily, the bag showed up in lost-and-found an hour or two later with a foolish amount of cash missing. While the airline was searching we were graced by a stranger who overheard our dilemma; he let us use his phone and gave us pay-it-forward money. The airline and Paris police treated us with a lot of respect. We were rebooked on a flight out the following morning. Through all this terrifying experience I had the Red Sand Project of Molly Gochman fresh in my mind. I had ordered her sand to be delivered both to Missouri to use while I was visiting and to Barcelona to use when I returned. I kept telling myself everything will be okay because I have a web of family and friends who would find a way to get me home. I was an emotional mess, but my core remained safe. I thought about the red sand being poured into cracks… of the millions of people who have next to nothing and remain stuck in that predicament. I felt their desperation for a brief moment. I wept once my daughter fell asleep in the hotel. She was amazing and supportive with her three year old simplicity. The next morning we flew to the calm of the Ozark Mountains where the Red Sand Project arrived in the mail a week later. I used the red sand in a crack at The Drew Lewis Foundation at The Fairbanks, a project of my younger sister involving the restoration of an abandoned school. She purchased The Fairbanks School to restore as a community center in a low-income neighborhood. Back in Barcelona my daughter and I filled in cracks at the Cercle Artistic de Sant LLuc (above image). This year they are focusing on art related to conflict. I look at cracks now with different eyes. I see a struggle trying to transform. I feel empowered and grateful that Gochman gave me this new artistic tool to visually communicate a dream for change.
As a later note, I discovered through the Good Magazine (where I also discovered Molly) that airline companies are trying to train their employees to recognise human trafficking. It had never occurred to me that I could be in a seat next to somebody slipping through a crack.