The Pickle lost her kitty in the grocery store yesterday.
Dropped it carelessly while she desperately inhaled a cinnamon raisin bagel right out of the bag before we ever bought it. (I forgot to bring snacks for the ride home) What stinks is, it wasn’t until we were almost finished shopping when I realized it was gone. No retracing our steps. No finding it under the bag of chips. It was hard to try and explain “forever” to a two-year old.
What frustrated me as we made our way to the checkout lane was that this is not the first time we have lost something valuable. (Kitty= heart value, not necessarily money value)
About a year ago we were out and about at a sort of strip mall. She was in her stroller and I was knocking things off my to-do list like bowling pins. Store to store to store. The next thing I know, I look down and her beloved blanket that daddy had secretly “chosen” (read: manipulated) to be her favorite since she was born was nowhere to be found.
I had no clue when it had been thrown out of the stroller. Which store? Which sidewalk? What time? When I looked down, she was chewing on the corner of the cheese I had given her to hold. No blanket in sight.
We walked up and down every aisle. Twice. We walked the sidewalk outside. We went in every store and asked if anyone had turned it in. I even left my phone number. No blanket.
For months I returned. And I asked the service desk in the grocery store. And I looked along the sidewalk. In fact, on occasion I still go to the service desk just for kicks and ask if they’ve seen a little brown blanket.
It’s hard to describe the feelings that flooded me that afternoon.
P didn’t realize what had happened. She didn’t realize that was “her” blanket and she might never ever EVER see it again. In fact, I thought she had already forgotten until I laid her down for her nap with a selection of other soft blankets… and she began wimpering.
I. Just. Bawled.
I don’t know if I’ve ever wept so hard over a THING.
There’s a deep wound when you lose something precious, isn’t there? Something you have made memories with. Something that has become a part of your life. An emptiness sets in that aches every time you think of it.
It’s funny when I lose something. I begin to pray. And in my mind’s eye it becomes like a movie.
Camera One: Following me from the side as I walk down the sidewalk chatting away with the Pickle. Ticking things off of my to-do list. The camera zooms to just show my legs and the stroller. In slow motion, the blanket falls.
Cut to camera two: The blanket is in the forefront. My figure is walking away at the same clip. Further and further and further.
Then what? What did God see? Who picked it up and thought, “This will make a nice blanket for my granddaughter”? Or, “Gross… smelly old blanket on the ground” and threw it in the trash.
This last thought kills me the most.
Did I walk past those half a dozen trash cans and not look inside?
Camera Three: Inside the dark trash can with just a bit of the blanket showing at the bottom of the screen. Outside the slit I appear. A worried, frantic look on my face. Searching. Longing. Anxious. I gaze past the trash can for a moment, scanning the parking lot before I turn and the door closes on a Chinese restaurant.
I do this with all my lost things. Imagine the movie reel stopped in the back of the closet under the suitcase. Or in the bottom of the trash can. The viewer desperately screaming, “Look here! It’s in here!”
But what’s lost is just that- Lost. There’s no beeping key-finder. No lost and found box. No address scrawled across the bottom to be returned one day. No GPS.
Yet… they are just things. They can be replaced. Their memory can live on in pictures and videos.
But that sickening feeling doesn’t go away, does it? That frantic search doesn’t end. Hope lingers that maybe someday, miraculously, it will turn up.
In the end, though, I must remember that there are worse things to lose than blankets and kitty cats.
“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” -Luke 15:8-10
We found her kitty, by the way. Some sweet lady had turned it in to customer service… and there was much rejoicing.