For months now, I've been nagging my parents to hunt throughout the entire house for a very precious bracelet that I'd left behind. With every passing week I lost hope, becoming more and more convinced that it was lost to the void. You know how when you lose something that was pretty much brand new, and it just stays new and unattainable in your mind forever? My beautiful bracelet was like that. I even had dreams where I found it and it wasn't quite the same as in the real world... a sure sign that I was forgetting it while obsessing over it at the same time.
My dad asked me where he thought I'd seen it last, and time and time again I told him that I had no idea, and that the only place I could remember leaving it was on the leg of an upturned piece of furniture in my old bedroom. (It's kind of turned into the junk room since then so there's no shortage of chairlegs hanging around, waiting to have hairbands and stuff left on them.)
It wasn't because it was expensive jewellery that I wanted to find it, it was because it was a special gift from my boyfriend's parents. They chose the charms specially with me in mind - a silver flip-flop and conch shell - because I was raised on an island, you see? And they gave me a third charm to me this Christmas - a beautiful silver bear. Bears have huge personal significance for me.
The bracelet was intended, partly, to be worn on a cruise this summer. My boyfriend's grandmother is taking the entire family, and apparently, I qualify! I didn't want to wear it until then (ironically because I had a suspicion I would lose it / drop it / have it stolen), but I was talked into it by his mother, who told me 'not to save it for best.'
Anyway, my dad hadn't found it, my mum hadn't found it, none of my siblings had seen it, and I was forced to conclude that it could have slipped off my wrist any time, any place. I prayed. This is a revelation I've been unsure how to introduce to you all, but I'm a Christian. Sort of. Was. Am. Well, I'm confused, essentially, so I was pleading with God saying "If you're really there, you know how important this is to me - please, please help me find it..." then I'd tail off and wonder if I was talking to myself.
Every day since I've been back, I've been having mini-hunts in every corner of this junk-packed house, in the futile hope that it'd turn up. Tonight I searched in my old bedroom again. I'd already looked, of course, but I had to do something.
"Dad's already tidied here loads of times... to be honest, if it was here, he'd have found it." That was my sister, Judith, getting ready for bed.
"I know," I said, "but it just feels better than doing nothing, you know?"
After a lot of organising, and sorting, and putting things into bags and throwing them away and finding books from years ago, I saw it. There, on the leg of an upturned stool, hidden away under an old computer desk, was my bracelet - paler than I remembered it, but just as beautiful.
The next few seconds sounded like this:
"I found it.
I FOUND IT."
"I FOUND IT!
I FOUND IT!!
MUUUUM!!! I FOUND IT!"
I ran downstairs, my sister shouting congratulations after me, and my mum reaching out to hug me, almost as delighted as I was, because she knew how important this was to me, and how bad I'd felt for letting down my boyfriend and his parents. I called him with the good news straight away, of course! And then... we prayed. And I said thank you to the God that I can't quite not believe in however much I hurt sometimes.
Sitting on the sofa afterwards, I thought of a story Jesus told about a woman in a very similar position.
Luke 15 v. 8-10So, it being a little late to call all my friends and neighbours together, I thought I'd share it with you. Because some things are just important.
The Parable of the Lost Coin"Or what woman who has 10 silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she finds it, she calls her women friends and neighbors together, saying, 'Rejoice with me, because I have found the silver coin I lost!' I tell you, in the same way, there is joy in the presence of God's angels over one sinner who repents."