Monday, September 29, 2008

Everything Lost is Found Again

Have you ever lost something? I have, more times than I care to count. And I'm NOT good about it.

Last week, I realized the pictures from my childhood were missing. ALL the pictures. Let me explain. Some years ago, my mom gave each of her kids the photos from our youth...for safekeeping. I knew exactly where mine were, in the brown storage box that used to grace our family room cupboard and now sits on a rack in the garage because my husband likes to keep our house (the inner parts that you can't see) as free of clutter as possible. It's a good thing.

Or at least it was a good thing. Until I couldn't find my photos. When I went to get them from the brown box, they were missing. I wasn't all that worried at first. We have several photo and memorabilia boxes in the garage where Dave has placed them (labeled, of course) on racks. So, no problemo. I'd just look through the other boxes until I located the goods. They'd be on my new photo wall by evening. Easy.

Not so easy. I looked through every box (and a few others) and found not one hint of my childhood pics. Nary a snapshot. But I refused to panic. Dave would find them. After all, he's my organizer man, right? 

Well, he must have felt my pain because Saturday, after returning from a grueling work assignment for church, Dave began to look. I didn't even have to ask. His first impulse was to check the two boxes on "my" rack in the garage, but I told him not to bother. I'd been there, done that. He then spent the next several hours sorting through other boxes. Still no luck...and by now, I was somewhat less than calm. Okay, a whole lot less. I was losing it. I mean, this was my childhood! Every single piece of it!! And that sucker was nowhere to be found. 

To make a long story short (?!), before the day was over I had: (1) compulsively checked every box, closet and cupboard in the house, to no avail; (2) torn apart every box in the garage, again; (3) cried bitter tears and felt really sorry for myself; (4) blamed my husband (at first in my mind and later,verbally); and (5) made sure by my actions and manner that I had no access to the spirit at all as I prayed for help finding my photos. Needless to say, it was not a shining moment for me.

Once my anger died down (leaving the very real sadness that was at the root of it), I had the strangest thought. Look in the brown box. What?! Look in the brown box. Yeah, right. The one I've ransacked more times than I can count. Sterling idea. Check the brown box! In total defeat, I shuffled glumly toward the brown box, envisioning myself now as a bedeviled heroine, a sad and tragic figure who had lost every vestige of her childhood, tormenting herself by going back to search where she knew neither it nor anything else of value could ever be found. Oh, the pathos.

Pathos, shmathos. I found the photos. Yep, there they were. In plain sight. In the brown box I had checked first, last, and several times in between. They were there. In a manilla envelope. Right where they belonged. Relief washed over me. For the first time in two days, I felt completely at peace. My childhood was restored! Life made sense again. All was well. (Though I did have a bit of relationship-mending to do...)

Anyway, I tell you this story because it taught me...on two levels. Level 1:  People are more important than things, even precious childhood photos...and being frantic is no excuse for being fractious.
Level 2: My brown box is analogous to that vital place inside each one of us where we store all the things (like my childhood photos) that matter most in our lives: faith, love, strength, hope, humility, and other spiritual gifts/talents. We know they are there because we've seen them, even added to them. But in our hour of greatest need...when we most desperately want to use them, sometimes we can't see them at all. We look right past them. We fail to see our own treasures and end up feeling empty and defeated. Something precious is lost, and we don't know where to find it. We are overwhelmed.

The message is pretty simple. In this life, we all see "through a glass, darkly" (1 Cor. 13:12). But it is when we look inside ourselves through the eyes of faith that we are able to see most clearly. Everything we need is there for us. Even if it's not visible at first glance, it's available. Our part is to keep hoping and believing, to keep listening to that voice that tell us what we need to know, and to never, never, ever give up.

P.S. Sorry Dave. You are still one fine hunk of an organizer man.  =)


Heather Anderson said...

I think I "misplace" things all to often and I have learned that eventually things have a way of showing up and it is best not to get too worked up over it. Carli also tends to lose things a lot (maybe she comes by it naturally) and she simply says a quick prayer and always stands up from her prayer and goes to the exact spot and finds her missing item in no time. This happens VERY often. She never doubts that she will find it. So, if anything goes missing again you can call your granddaughter and have her pray for you, it works everytime:)

Sue said...

The faith of a child, right? We should all develop more of that!

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