If anyone promises you that you won’t lose things or mess up if you are extra careful, don’t believe it.
I watch as Alex, a visiting 14-year-old grandson, tramps back and forth, up and down the stairs, searching for his wallet where he carries his folded, paper-permit to drive. He’s already checked the van and gone back to the church to see if it fell out of his pocket on a sofa.
He doesn’t care about the money or wallet. He wants his permit to drive. He wants a miracle. I tell him to pray if it’s important. He says, “I’ve already done that.”
A whippoorwill begins taunting us with Whippoorwill! Whippoorwill! It’s as if the bird is saying, “You’ll never find it! You’ll never find it!” Side-yard goats begin their screaming. Baaaa! Baaaa! “Not there, silly boy! Not here, silly willy!”
Lips dry, he comes back inside the house for a glass of water.
I pray off and on about it.
He eats a plate of spaghetti. Some of us eat when we think and think, pray and pray, look and look and see no results.
Alex tries to sit quietly but searches upstairs once more.
Eventually someone says, “We’ll keep looking tomorrow. We are not giving up, not yet. We know it’s somewhere.” Soon after, we put on pajamas and go to bed.
Early the next morning, without any prompting, Alex retraces his steps. He looks in the van again and combs through the upstairs. I check the laundry room. Nothing.
But on the third time he checks the van, there it is. The black leather wallet, standing on its side on the floor, leaning against the black frame.
I watch him as he comes toward the laundry room smiling. His thumb is up!
Yes! Yes! Yes!
All doubts crumble. The long search is instantly forgotten. The wallet, in perfect shape. The permit is intact.
I want to tell everyone! I suggest he call his PapPaw at work and message Ms. Lana (teacher from church whom he’d messaged earlier) with the good news. He says, “Okay, I will.”
But when I suggest he go find and tell his twin brother, he replies, “Oh, he’ll just say that I’m dumb for losing it.”
“Well, that’d be a typical 14-year old reply, wouldn’t it? I think you need to tell him anyway.”He nods.
I rejoice the rest of the day.
And just two weeks ago, it was Garrett, Alex’s dad, who had a big loss.
Garrett, our son, was on vacation with wife and four children. His birthday and Father’s Day were coming up. He was pumped! He was ready for sand and ocean.
But he had tire issues! One tire had picked up a piece of metal when they were in Cocoa Beach, another leaked air on the way to Pensacola, then a third tire grew a bubble on its side when they were on their way back home. I know. Over the top. And they’d bought a new tire the week before vacation, trying to get prepared for the long trip!
No matter how prepared we are, we human beings are going to have our troubles and losses.
While waiting on a mechanic to replace the second tire, Garrett called. I recall his closing words. “It is what it is….” An idea suddenly came to me. I went ahead and spoke it aloud. “I’m going to pray you get an extra $300, Garrett, from somewhere, to pay for those tires. I’m just going to ask for what you need.”
Days later, he called again. “Mom, you may have jinxed me. A third tire…. I’m buying a third tire.” I went silent for a moment but finally asked how he and the family were doing with the stress.
His tired reply—“Okay, I guess. At least we’re on the road home.”
The next morning I called to see if they’d made it. “Yes, we made it. We are so glad to be home…. And Mom, when I checked the mail last night, there was a check, a check big enough to cover the cost of the tires.”
Yes! Praise the Lord! How I rejoiced! Hey, I’m still rejoicing!
Because I have stories, I tell them. I think God gives them to me to strengthen me and maybe to strengthen others, too. Well, I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell them.
God wants to be our Father and guide us, if we humans will just let Him. Telling my stories helps me remember, some of the time.
Alex’s driver’s instruction permit was lost, but now it’s found! Photo by Pat Durmon, June 2019.