May 2010

Lost & Found

We’re all familiar with those boxes labeled “Lost & Found”.  I have rummaged through many at the schools my children have attended.  They, like all children, often came home from school without a coat, or hat, or gloves, or lunch box, or backpack, or any number of other necessities.  We, like most parents, seldom found that which was lost.  I have also given some oversight to the “Lost & Found” boxes at places where I have worked.  People would lose books, umbrellas, jewelry, glasses, coats, hats, gloves, and all manner of personal possessions.  Seldom did I see people find that which they had lost.


I suppose that is why my experience of the past week seems so remarkable.  The last several days have been all about losing and finding things.  Let me tell you about it.  It started on Monday.  I returned to the church from visiting Helen Lindsey in Nyack Hospital, and to my consternation, discovered that my office keys were not in my pocket.  After thinking back through my steps, I concluded that I must have dropped them in the hospital parking lot while digging through my pocket to find the token for the exit.  How frustrating to lose my keys.  I called Nyack Hospital security, but no one had found them.  However, when I checked back the next day, they had indeed been found and were waiting for me at the security desk.  Amazing!


Next story:  Tuesday evening, I was packing up my office to go home.  I had too much to carry to my car in one trip.  So I grabbed up some of it and headed out with my car keys in hand to put it in the car.  As you can guess, when I got back to the church door, I realized I had left my office keys in my office!  I was locked out.  In the end, I found that Ed Kirstein was home from work and I was able to walk to his home, borrow his church key, walk back, let myself in, finish putting my things in my car, lock up, and return Ed’s key to him.  I drove home shaking my head over my absentmindedness.


Next story:  Thursday, I took Marianne Leese to lunch at the Red Lobster in Nanuet, to celebrate National Administrative Assistants’ Day, in appreciation for all that she does for me and for our church.  We had a lovely lunch and great conversation.  That evening, I discovered I had lost my credit card.  I knew immediately where it was: my Visa Card was eating biscuits at Red Lobster.  I called and yes, they had my card.  I drove to the restaurant, retrieved my card, and drove home once again.  Amazing!


These three experiences of losing things might have worried me (or Nora), but the relief & joy over finding them outweighed concern over my dementia.  Besides, Ed Kirstein gave me more than enough grief about it all!


Now, here’s the best story of all.  On Monday, before losing my keys at Nyack Hospital, I drove to the Palisades Mall to meet Jeannie Michael (a friend and occasional visitor to our church) for lunch.  I was walking through the parking lot toward the mall door near Best Buy, when I spotted a wallet on the ground.  I picked it up and began going through it looking for a phone number I could call.  The owner’s driver’s license was there along with credit cards, cash, and a number of personal items, but nothing with his phone number.  There was a business card from his parole officer, but when I called that number, I found that that officer had retired and that the case of the owner of the wallet had been closed.  They had no contact information for him.  I could think of no recourse but to mail him a note with the news that I had found his wallet, by which time he would have had to replace everything.  I went on into the mall and up the stairs to the carousel where I met Jeannie.  We went up another flight and found a table at Fridays.  I showed Jeannie the wallet and we went back through it together looking for clues.  I had just taken his driver’s license out and laid it on the table when our waiter came to take our order.  He saw the picture, and said cheerily: “Are you friends of Joe (I’ve changed his name)?  Do you want to sit at one of his tables?”  You can’t imagine our surprise to discover that I had found a wallet in a parking lot of unknown acres, at an enormous mall, with dozens of eateries, and yet landed where the one who lost the wallet was working at the next table.  Amazing!


Jesus told parables of things lost and found.  Some were about objects like keys and wallets, a lost sheep and a lost coin.  One was about a lost child.  There are people who get lost in life, not just physically, but emotionally, relationally, spiritually.  Perhaps you have experienced being lost; I know I have, more that once.  It seems to me to be a miracle of grace when we find our way again, or more often, when we are found by someone who cares, someone who loves us enough to come looking for us.  Isn’t this what our faith affirms: that God, in the person of Jesus, has come looking for us and finds us in all our lostness, and puts us back on the path that leads to home.  Amazing Grace!  Truly!



"Amazing Grace"

God's Grace is evident in so many ways. Not long ago, I received an unexpected check for $700. As it was "found" money as far as I was concerned, I decided to tithe it and wrote a check, and put it in my purse to bring to church. Later, that day, I picked up my mail, and lo and behold, there was another unexpected check in the amount I had just written. I could not believe my eyes. Amazing!

"Amazing Grace ", I think, will always be my all time favorite hymn. It never fails to make me cry no matter how many times I hear it. "Once I was lost and now I am found, I was blind and now I see". It rings over and over in my mind as it resonates within my heart. There are so many ways of being "lost" and so many ways of being found, but I think the most important way of being found is through a soul connection with another and with others. A connection that tells one that he/she is truly a child of God and is loved by Jesus. And of course, this happens in God's Grace and in God's time. And it is, to me, an occasion for tremendous joy when we are lost and found by "someone who loves us enough to come looking for us".  The joy is indescrible when "being found" becomes an occasion for transformation and a new path in life. And It happens more often than one might think, because God is real and because God doesn't want us to spend our lives without Him/Her.