short excerpts...other writings...upon occasion or as prompted...
The tiger in the water? A representation of my life -- spirit and environment!


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Assume That the Problem Will Be Resolved

Often, problems become greater rather than disappear because subconsciously we anticipate trouble. By remaining calm and focused on the task, not on the complications surrounding the task, we can often resolve the problem rather than simply coping with it. Imagining the problem as already resolved will in many cases lead to its successful resolution.

Several years ago I flew from Novosibirsk (USSR) to Tashkent, Uzbekistan on Siberian Air. (Yes, there really is a Siberian Airlines.)

When I arrived, the Uzbek border guard paged through my American passport several times, looking at me occasionally. I knew instantly what was going on in his head. First, I had no visa for Uzbekistan. Second, since the aircraft was Russian and the flight was coming in from Siberia, only Russian- and Uzbek-speaking guards were manning the post. No one expected an American to be flying that particular route. So, what the guard was thinking was: "What? No visa! And how on earth am I going to talk about this with her?"

He tentatively asked in Russian if I, by chance, spoke Russian. I conceded that I, by chance, did.

He smiled and said, "Great! We can communicate!"

Then he went on to explain that he could not find my Uzbek visa. I assured him that he was indeed correct in his ascertainment that there was no Uzbek visa. I went on to explain that I had heard that it was possible to use my Russian visa for up to 72 hours and then get an Uzbek visa in-country. He told me that this possibility did not exist. Only if one were to stay less than 72 hours could one use the Russian visa -- and I was staying several weeks.

Well, this was certainly a dilemma. However, I assumed that the problem would be resolved, that I would not spend the rest of my life beside the border station in Tashkent. So, I said to the guard, "Well, we seem to have a problem. What are we going to do about it?"

He laughed and said that we could not do anything about it, but he could, once the whole planeload of people had passed through. He had me wait in a very comfortable transit lounge, where I could watch Uzbek television in Russian, and true to his word, he got me a visa: a multi-entry, multi-year visa and obviously felt very pleased with himself. He even had it charged to the organization for which I was consulting in Uzbekistan.

I thanked him profusely and headed off toward customs, step two for entering the country, which I did many times thereafter, assisting the Minisitry of Education with many (I hope, positive) changes.


Excerpted and adapted from a collection of vignettes, copyright 2003.


  1. Politeness goes such a long way in getting things accomplished!
    I can imagine how things may have gone, had you been rude and impertinent!

  2. Indeed -- maybe I would still be there!!

  3. Thanks for sharing your incredible stories that speak of God's love and faithfulness. You are blessed, and may continue to bless you, Elizabeth!

  4. I do feel blessed, Easter. Thanks for visiting, and thanks for your kind words.


About Me

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I am the mother of 4 birth children (plus 3 others who lived with us) and grandmother of 2, all of them exceptional children. Married for 42 years, I grew up in Maine, live in California, and work in many places in education, linguistics, and program management. In my spare time, I rescue and tame feral cats and have the scars to prove it. A long-time ignorantly blissful atheist converted by a theophanic experience to Catholicism, I am now a joyful catechist. Oh, I also authored a dozen books, two under my pen name of Mahlou (Blest Atheist and A Believer-in-Waiting's First Encounters with God).

My Other Blogs

100th Lamb. This is my main blog, the one I keep most updated.

The Clan of Mahlou
. This is background information about various members of the extended Mahlou family. It is very much a work still in progress. Soon I will begin posting excerpts from a new book I am writing, Raising God's Rainbow Makers.

Modern Mysticism. This blog discusses the mystical in our pragmatic, practical, realistic, and rational 21st century world and is to those who spend some or much of their time in an irrational/mystical relationship with God. If such things do not strain your credulity, you are welcome to follow the blog and participate in it.

Recommended Reading List

Because I am blog inept, I don't quite know how to get a reading list to stay at the end of the page and not disappear from sight. Therefore, I entered it as my first post. I suppose that is not all that bad because readers started commenting about the books, even suggesting additional readings. So, you can participate with others in my reading list by clicking here.
I do post additional books as I read them and find them to be meaningful to me, and therefore, hopefully, meaningful to you. One advantage of all the plane traveling I do is that I acquire reading time that I might not otherwise take.