The Lost Is Found


Kay Reminger

The panicky feeling that settles quickly deep inside when something is lost can be overwhelming. To the degree one registers that feeling is measured by how valuable the item is that’s lost.

This past Thanksgiving, my family came over to share the bounty and give thanks for all we have been given throughout the year. It was a good day, full of prayerful gratefulness, laughter and, of course, food. In our family, we are blessed to have three little grandnieces, two of whom came with their momma and daddy that day.

They were all preparing to leave when I noticed the library book I had placed on a small table in the kitchen was not there. I knew as I was getting ready for the day, I’d questioned my decision to leave my book in such a prominent spot. Brushing the thought aside, I’d busied myself with preparations. I wish I would have heeded my own thoughts.

As I was helping everyone get organized to leave, I was silently mulling over the misplaced book when suddenly my daughter piped up: “Where’s my cellphone? I had it right here.” She pointed to the edge of the dining room table where, after the plates and food had been cleared, we had gathered to play games and, later, scrutinize the ads for Black Friday deals. Thinking we had scooped up the phone with the ads, we painstakingly sorted through it all, to no avail.

“Somebody call her phone,” my sister suggested helpfully.

“No use, I have it on completely silent.”

We continued to look as my extended family, intent on gathering their things, kept watch for a missing phone. My niece stopped all of a sudden as a thought hit her. Her little girl liked to play with her momma’s phone and, at just over 2 years old, was very inquisitive.

Bending down to her level, I softly asked, “Isabelle? Did you put the phone in your toy bag?” She looked squarely at me with her beautiful, round-as-the-moon innocent eyes and nodded her head yes, yes. Up and down. Quickly.

“Isabelle? Did you put the phone in Auntie Kay’s cupboard?” Eyes widened. Nodded yes.

Imaging that my grandniece would only be trying to please me, I gently persisted: “Isabelle? Did you put the phone outside in the barn, the one with no cowies in it?” Her eyes got bigger still. Eyebrows raised. Very solemnly nodded yes.

After we tried to hide our giggling but still anxious over the obviously missing phone, my son suggested to his sister, “Hey, put your Apple password in my ‘Find my iPhone’ app.”

We were going to find this phone if it was the last thing we did. In the meantime, my nephew-in-law was in the process of carting their bags back into the house.

Immediately my son announced: “It’s moving! The phone is moving!” I was speechless. This thing works! Soon we discovered that Isabelle had indeed, very secretly, slid my daughter’s cell inside her bag of beloveds, right alongside Meow Meow and Wolfie. Sweet relief!

That, however, did nothing to find the book I knew was somewhere. There was no iPhone app for a missing library book. Everyone looked high and low through their things. No book.

Presently my family went back to their homes, and I poured through the house, searching for that book, imagining Isabelle’s level of looking at life. Finally I recalled that we’d had a bag for garbage hanging on a door knob for ease of cleaning up after dinner. It had gone outside in the covered trashcan and was tied tight, as there were food scraps included.

I shuddered thinking perhaps the book could have been slipped in there. It was perilously close to the table on which the book was last placed.

Halfway through that paperback (and it was a very good read), I resigned to thinking I’d be paying the library for the wayward book. I recalled inside the front cover a note had been written: “Water damage 9/27/17.” This book had been around the block and back.

The next day — after once again poking into every small corner, looking behind couches and chairs and opening every cupboard within reach of a dear one’s pudgy little hands — I finally succumbed to digging through the garbage, which I thankfully had not had time to lug to the curb.

There, just out of reach of some leftover gravy but too close to strawberry Jell-O, was nestled the paperback book. I screeched with delight and immediately sent a joint text to my family: “I FOUND THE BOOK!”

Cleaning it up the best I could, I sat down and finished it. I returned the book to the library, confessing its journey into the garbage. After somewhere falling into a sink, it had then been slid into a bag with leftover turkey dinner. The sweet gals that work at the Shawano Library listened to my story with sympathy. I ended up not having to pay a thing for the cleaned-up book, so all’s well that ends well.

Sweet relief! The lost is found!

(“Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; sing praises to His name, for it is lovely.” Psalm 135:3)