I started to write out the sequence of events that led up to the last time I remembered holding it in my hand, but none of it really matters. The important part of the story was that my wallet — a nice little clasp purse made by a dear friend — was missing.
At 5 AM, I was searching, trying to be quiet while the rest of the people in the house were sleeping, but I had to be at work at 5:15 AM and was starting to panic.
My mother often said, “It’s always the last place you look.”
The morning schedule was tight: lifeguarding at the pool from 5:15-7:15, go home, eat breakfast, leave by 8 AM to take Laurel to the dentist which was an hour-and-a-half away.
I searched through the Table of Contents, wasting valuable other search time, looking for a prayer to fit this occasion.
But the beauty of Every Moment Holy lies in the title. Every moment is holy. Even the anxiety-ridden ones.
Before I left the house, I tip-toed into my father’s darkened room with a flashlight to see if perchance he had picked it up. My mother, in her dementia, used to squirrel away all sorts of treasures, and my father has started doing similar things. She had opted for shiny things — silverware and napkin rings, but he liked books and pens and shirts. My wallet wasn’t in his room, though.
I drove into the pool, worrying, and trying to allay my worries with words that could go into The Liturgy for Searching for Lost Items.
I got to the pool only to find the service door locked.
“Sorry, Sally,” said the woman at the front desk who let me in.
“No worries,” I said. It’s my standard response. Even when I’m worried.
And I was quite worried.
But the liturgy for lost or misplaced things was starting to take shape.
I found that when I started feeling the worry rise, it helped to think about what the Bible said about lost things.
I had two hours at the pool, three hours in the car, and an hour sitting in a dentist office to think about it. Six hours of pushing worry into prayer.
My initial thoughts:
O, Lord — I know You care about lost things
You talk about a shepherd leaving ninety-nine sheep to search for the one lost lamb
You talk about a widow searching for a lost coin
My later thoughts:
Lord, I’m holding on too tight to the temporal, to things that don’t last.
If I never find that wallet again —
If every worse case scenario I imagine comes true
If it was dropped and found by an unscrupulous person
Or taken because I wasn’t paying attention
If my credit cards and, worse, my identity are stolen,
Because I have everything I need in You
My hands are open, Lord.
Whatever You want from me is Yours
It was never mine to begin with
Truly my morning was holy.
Anxious — but also holy in a way I couldn’t have imagined.
My mother was right. It’s always in the last place you look. Sometimes it’s in a place you’ve even looked before.
I found it when I got back home. Even though I had looked there previously, it was in my father’s car.
Matt Canlis said at Hutchmoot that God is closer than you think and in places you don’t expect.
I realized that all my searching wasn’t about my wallet. It was about God guiding me into truths I need to learn.