Yesterday was a Monday in every deserved aspect of that oft-dreaded day. It began with lots of whining and tears and complaints (mine and theirs, at least the complaints). In my attempts to herd us out the door to get to the grocery store, we kept losing things. Shoes and socks that seemed to be mysteriously repelled by my daughters’ feet. The favorite shirt we/they wanted to wear. The water ink pen which is a “necessary” in-car entertainment. When calling my husband to vent, I absent-mindedly touched my earring – and realized the pearl was gone. He had given me this set of pearls to celebrate a birthday and the pending birth of our twins. A pearl could be anywhere! So then, naturally, the next thing I lost was my temper. If only I could never lose that in response to all the lost things.
When I calmed down, and could think and breathe at last, I began thinking about why lost things get me so much. It’s more than the fact that we seem to always be looking for something lost these days – the beloved lovey that we looked for in every aisle of the grocery store yesterday, for instance, only to find that it was safely at home after all – but it’s how much TIME it takes to find what is lost. It takes time. A lot of time. Patience. Detailed searching, often. And I don’t have much patience naturally. I feel like I have less time. And I am not a girl who loves details.
But in this calling as a mom to three-year-old girls who have beloved objects, short memories, and a propensity to misplace those objects, I am also called to search for lost things often. Probably daily is not too much of an exaggeration. Love for my girls means that I’ll search for what they love even if I don’t share their valuation of it. This kind of looking for lost things doesn’t come naturally for me, as I’ve shared above. And yet I think it’s one of the small sacrifices of motherhood – to take the time necessary to look for what’s lost.
In so doing, I am imitating no less than God the Father’s love for me and for all of us who are lost. He takes time to search me out; to find me. He used the parable of finding lost things to describe what his heart is all about – what the Kingdom of God is essentially. A lost sheep, a lost coin, two lost sons in Luke 15 tell the story to answer the complaints of the self-righteous grumbling about why Jesus spent so much time with those who were so obviously “lost.” In all three stories, there is much rejoicing and celebration when what is lost is found. Jesus is inviting the self-righteous to not only join in the celebration of those lost being found but also to join in the search of the lost. And the place this begins is realizing they, too, are lost. The last story of the prodigal son illustrates this so vividly. It ends abruptly with the father of the story inviting the older brother to celebration (he’s angry over the party for the younger prodigal brother who’s returned home). And it leaves us hanging. What happens next? We don’t know. It’s a question the self-righteous need to ask and then to answer. Will I come in, counting myself as a lost one found by my Father and thus able to rejoice when another lost one is found?
Why don’t I think I have time to search for lost things? Sad to say, I haven’t even looked for the lost pearl earring for yesterday. What kept me from it?
- I doubt that it can be found.
- I don’t know quite where or how to look.
- I’d rather spend time doing something else.
- As valuable as the earring is, I know that it is replaceable.
My daughters with their lost loveys have a lesson to teach me, yet again. For the Kingdom belongs to such as these [children]. In the face of my unbelief, they remind me:
- To have confidence that what’s lost will be found
- To start looking wherever you are now
- When something’s lost, that IS your #1 priority until it’s found.
- What’s lost is irreplaceable.
- There is no rejoicing like the joy over finding what’s lost.
Oh, that I’d share their passion and confidence for finding lost things when it comes to searching and finding for my lost peace of mind, for a lost friendship, for a world that’s lost its way. And maybe I could find a lost pearl earring as I do so?