Yesterday the BPA and phthalate-free plates & feeding utensils I ordered online for Theo (after my late-night panic attack) arrived in the mail. Theo was ecstatic about having a spoon and fork that looked like a fork lift and a some kind of loading truck. Plus, there was a third utensil, a "shovel" that you can use to push the food onto the fork/spoon. Very clever. Especially if you're 3.5 years old.
Since our "safer" new stuff arrived, I took the opportunity to clean out our cupboards that were cluttered up with kiddie plates, utensils, cups, and all sorts of baby to toddler-ish feeding paraphernalia.
And that's when I found it, locked inside a twist-to-seal baby feeder. I saw the flash of gold and then, suddenly, I knew what it was, in a brilliant moment of joy. It was my lost golden necklace and pendant, the chain part from Dan, and the pendant a present from my dad on my 18th birthday. It's the only jewelry item I have left from my dad since our house was broken into the week after Vincent's funeral.
During the break-in the thieves took our cameras, computers and external hard drives, all of which contained our videos and pictures of Vincent. We lost around 75% of all our video footage of Vincent. And they took all my "real" jewelry that they could find.
Except for this gold necklace that was in the bathroom.
For days after the break-in, I started hiding all my remaining items that I wanted to keep safe. I hid Vincent's favorite stuffed animals, blankies, my not-so-valuable jewelry, our spare change, and this necklace. Before going out I would hide this necklace in the most random of places until the day came that I couldn't for the life of me remember where I put it. I cleaned out two closets and moved 3 dressers. It was nowhere to be found.
So I lost a lot to these thieves... and then I lost even more to Fear. I still have some awesome earrings that are so *safely* hidden I may never find them.
Fear often leads us to hide things. We may think we're protecting them, keeping them safe, but it may take us years before we rediscover what was lost. Sometimes we may never find them again. It makes me wonder - what else have I hidden? Perhaps it's a talent or a calling or a memory, inaccessible now, unusable. What else in my life has Fear taken from me? Have I lost anything of brilliance or beauty or of great worth, locked away inside of me, out of sight, out of mind?
What's the point in "protecting" something precious only to lose it? What's the point of preserving something to the point of rendering it inaccessible to our deepest selves?
Ironically, we as humans tend to lose whatever it is we hold most closely. Maybe that's why Jesus said that to find your life, you first have to give it up. We have to hold it loosely, we have to keep it vulnerable. Because when we fearfully hide it, it's gone from us, out of reach, unable to be of any use, truly lost in the fullest sense of the word. But when we hold our lives open to God, willing for them to be lost in Him, that's when we find what it is that's been hidden from us all along.
When we are willing to give our lives up, that's when they're found. That's the ultimate paradox.
As we begin this season of Lent, may you find whatever it is that you have fearfully lost along the way. And may we be willing to boldly lose our deepest treasures, knowing that's how they'll really be found.
...And hopefully I'll eventually find that darn pair of earrings.