Oh my goodness! How do I keep doing this to myself? I put things (valuable things sometimes) away in “safe” places, places that, at the time I am doing the putting away, I think I will absolutely remember, places that I will never forget. Right? Sure, if you want to dream that dream…sure! You know, at times the things we place the most value on are the things that seem to get lost in the mix of every day life. We either put them away, ignore them, avoid them or completely abandon them.
So the adventure for this day was a quest to find a missing object, yes, one that I had placed in the location that I would absolutely remember and never forget! Ends up that I did not remember and had totally forgotten where I had stashed it. The object itself will remain unnamed, let us just say that it was something that was causing my heart to beat in an “anxiety rhythm.” Although, I must confess that it was not as bad as when I sent my USB out with the garbage man, hidden inside a purse that had breathed its last breath (or so I hope…till this day and forever!) Seems that I forgot to check that one last zipper pocket inside before I tossed it. Oh yea, there was at least ten to twelve years of my life residing on that particular USB drive!
Then today found me in a panic because I realized that I could not place my hand on the aforementioned unnamed missing object. I racked my brain trying to think where it could be. I have recently rearranged my bedroom and thought possibly it could have gotten tossed out (to the good ole garbage man again.) Then, the importance of it made me know that this was not a fate that would have befallen this item.
I did a quick search all through the house and looked through the drawers on my night stand and around my bed. I sat down and tried to think how in the world I could have misplaced the item. All my mind could zoom back to was the time that I threw out the USB drive, which was also irreplaceable! I quickly sent a private message to two friends that I know pray for lost items. Hey, do not laugh. They have a very good track record of praying and then the item is found. I do believe!
After I sent the message, I grabbed my high intensity, police quality flashlight and started crawling around on my hands and knees on the floor of my room. I was looking under my bed (even though there is always the possibility of spiders under the bed…I still braved it.) No missing object, but on the plus side, no spiders either. (Plus, I think the blinding light of that flashlight might have melted any that dared try to live there!) I looked inside and behind all furniture in my room. I went through all of my drawers to see if I’d stashed it somewhere “safe.” I had moved an extra night stand out of my room completely with the rearranging. I checked all the drawers there also (empty.) I came back and sat down on the edged of my bed and started to get a little sick.
It had to be in my room somewhere. It just had to. There was no other place that it could be. I had recently placed some old journals back in the plastic totes where I keep them. I pulled these heavy totes out and looked through them also. I looked up toward the top of the closet where a basket of miscellaneous items reside. I did not remember touching that basket recently; it could not be there, so I did not look. I went back over the floor, and under the bed, (still no spiders!) the other bedrooms and the rest of the house again. Yes, that sick feeling was getting stronger (although, truthfully, that could have been the tuna salad we had for lunch.)
I went back into my bedroom and sighed, knowing that I had (as is a family trait) probably thrown it out in the trash. I looked back at the closet one more time. I pulled that basket, you know “the one I had not touched in a long time,” down off the shelf, knowing it was not going to be there. I rummaged through the basket and what do you know? Of course it was there! How…even…how?
Definite relief. I immediately messaged my friends that the missing object had indeed been found! Prayer praise indeed!! God really does care about every area of our lives!
The only other object I have misplaced with similar value to this item was my passport…twice. The first time I lost it while traveling in Europe. We were in Val Gardenia, Italy at a very hustling, bustling popular restaurant. It was the winter busy season and they were jam packed. The thing was, I did not realize it was gone until we’d already gone to a couple of other places. Then I reached for it and it was not there. Panic set in! We retraced our steps and ended back up at the restaurant. As soon as I walked back in the door, my server came toward me. She reached in her pocket and pulled out my passport and asked if I was looking for something! Whew!! Close call for sure. The second time I lost it caused no panic at all. I didn’t even realize it was gone. A lady that works at Walmart knows my mom. She found it on the floor there. How in the world? Go figure! Sounds like I was treating it as a valuable item, huh?
How is it that we react to the valuable things in our life, some of which are not necessarily animate objects? How about those relationships that are closest to us? Are we nurturing them, or are we flying through our days, taking for granted that “because the relationships are special,” they will always be there? Even our closest relationships will not always be there.
Some of my greatest regrets and deepest pains are over my grandparents and special aunts and uncles. As a young child, up through my early teen years, I loved spending, and spent much time with them, and especially with my grandparents – on both sides of the family. They were such a big part of my coming to know Christ, by putting me there in places that allowed me to see Christ. But as the teenage years struck, it seemed that activities and friends and “stuff” seemed to come first. I spent less and less time with special aunts and uncles and especially my grandparents. They loved me so very, very much and they were something that I ended up “working into my schedule,” and my schedule ended up working them out of the picture for the most part, especially when we moved three hours away from all of them.
The saddest part, for them then and now for me is that I have come to realize that they were well aware of this reality. They loved me massively and loved the tidbits of my precious time that I allowed them. The thing is that I am (experientially) very sure they read me loud and clear, and it had to hurt. It breaks my heart for them, because, as I get older, I am coming to know how they felt. Some of it, of course, is just the growing pains of life, having to let go and allow your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, siblings and other special people in your life to move forward into their futures. The “growing apart” is inevitable. The rending and tearing of the separation point is crazy hard though. I have family that I dearly love and desire to see, and I know in my heart that they love me; but I am in that same boat as my grandparents. That growing apart and separation process is in full bloom! There are a few shining moments … randomly, if they happen to think about it, or if it is a special occasion, or if they don’t have other plans, or if something erratic happens in our lives. But, otherwise, I am learning to live with the “new normal.” And truly, I am not whining. It is just part of the circle of life that has been from the beginning of family. As our worlds get bigger, sometimes our past gets smaller.
What do I see when I think of those relationships that I hid away deep, deep inside that basket on the shelf in the closet of my life? I see that they – sort of like that USB I sent out with the trash man – are irreplaceable. They were sitting right there on that shelf and randomly, from time to time, I looked at them, without pulling them down and interacting with them and making them know that I knew how special they were. Heck, even a phone call would have been precious in their eyes. The moments that were missed cannot be recreated. I have a barrage of questions running through my mind now, conversations I wish we’d had. I wish there was a way to pour this “this” – the knowledge that family does not always last forever – into others so that they might slow down and take even a little time to reconnect.
What would I pour in? Let the people that you love know that you love them! Tell them. Make sure they get it. Even if you don’t have a lot in common with them, find some time in this crazy, nonstop world and just hang out with them. It doesn’t have to be a long, drawn out thing. Just take a few minutes to say, “Hey, I’m thinking of you and I love you and I just wanted you to know.”
Let us learn from the heartache of those that have gone before us. Don’t lose those irreplaceable relationships in the mix of every day life. If they are teetering on the brink of being lost, definitely keep on looking until you find them!
“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” ~~ (Luke 15:8-10 ESV)
“Grandchildren are the crown of the aged and the glory of children is their fathers.” ~~ (Proverbs 17:6 ESV)