Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Lost and Found

Lately I’ve been really good at losing things. I’m the kind of person that gets upset if I can’t find something and I will pretty much stay upset until I find said thing. This can make for some frustrating times (mostly for those sharing a dwelling with me as they have to repeatedly answer ‘have you seen my…? are you sure you haven’t seen my…? when you were upstairs, did you look for my…?). This inability to allow things to go missing is a terrible trait if you have a toddler in the house with you who believes that the wide distribution of toy parts is the law of the universe.

This June on the heels of posting my great love for homemade dried tomatoes we promptly lost the 30 or so plants that were seeded in the greenhouse in February. The mystery was only half solved when we found the empty seed packet. Somewhere unmarked in the fields there may be some drying tomatoes. Hopefully they have survived the windstorms and floods and will turn up red in August. I had saved some seeds in the previous year but despite tearing my entire house apart, I could not find them anywhere.

A couple of years ago my puppy decided to make a big hole where I had dozens of every colour of hollyhock flowers. They had finally come to bloom for me after years of anticipation and re-seeding. The tall stalks blowing in the wind were breathtaking come summer. Now I would have to start over again. But I lost my hollyhock seeds that I had collected from the previous pods. They were with my tomato seeds and could not be found anywhere. So I bought some hollyhock seeds and sowed them in after finally giving up my search.

The next day I found my tomato and hollyhock seeds. It was the beginning of July. Absolutely too late for the tomato seeds to amount to anything before frost. The hollyhocks were added to the others.

Another great mystery was the loss of my portable music player. This led to a mad search through my house and vehicles with each obvious spot being scoured over at least three times (first by me and then by my husband after a couple of weeks of me complaining about it). My house became tidy and things put away as I was very thorough. But alas, no music player surfaced. I started to get creative and look behind furniture, inside coat pockets, hats, towels, blankets, garbage cans…places I had not seen in years. Still, no luck.

I missed my favourite pass-time of disappearing into music or audio books in the fields. I couldn’t wait for a fix. So I called up a friend who had borrowed an old one from me that my computer no longer recognized. Perhaps I could get it working again. So I fetched it, plugged it in and viola! It worked. Happy me.

Now can you guess what happened next? Within minutes of sorting out my new little kit, after weeks of totally and frantically looking, I found my old one. Yes, indeedy, I did. Right there in with the coats. Right where I thought it should have been.

I know that this is not Grand Plan sort of stuff. I’m not arrogant enough to believe that God spends His time snickering away while I search for my hollyhock seeds and then allows them to turn up at the final minute after I’ve purchased new ones. The God I believe in wouldn’t bother with such inane stuff. Somehow, there is something I’m doing or not doing that lets these things back into my life the second that I surrender to the fact that I don’t need them anymore. And this in itself is likely God’s work, not mine. Or is it the moment I realize that I already have what I need?

What kind of silly joke is this? If not part of ‘what is meant to be’ then why the coincidental timing, repeatedly? This sort of thing happens to you too, doesn’t it? Is this a lesson we are to learn? Let go and it will come back?

This morning I noted that I have not been to church much lately. I have not thought or written about God. I have not checked in with any of the practices that usually connect me to the universe at large. Life seems too busy for such luxuries. I haven’t been on a long walk or jog either. I haven’t spent much time with friends. (Needless to say, I have, however, bothered to keep writing – the one thing that allows me to blow my troubles into a balloon and let them float away).

The funny thing is that during these frantic times, the very presence gained from coffee with a friend, or praying or taking care of my physical self is what is needed most. If I don’t check in this way, I am surely to lose sight entirely. Or just lose things period. And not remember where they are. Including my wee emotional centre of gravity.

Music brings joy. Flowers make me happy. When they are missing, I spend hours luring them back to me. Quiet contemplation, reverence and feeling a part of something – these all work wonders. But when these things fall away, I don’t go searching for them until long after they are gone.

I would like to commit to finding my best self with the same vigour that I search for my iPod. Not because the effort will prove successful, but because it will likely teach me that what I’ve been looking for has been right under my nose the whole time.

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