Over a dozen years ago, for a milestone birthday, my best friend gave me an exceedingly special gift. It was a sterling silver bracelet with links of my family members’ birthstones and my late-in-life baby’s name spelled out in silver baby blocks. I adored it. It was my all occasion accessory which I wore with great pride.
And then, on my next birthday, it inexplicably disappeared. Maybe the wine at dinner helped me lose track of when I last felt it on my wrist, but one minute it was there, and the next gone. I was desolate. We tore the houses where we had gone that night upside down looking for it. I pestered the restaurant for weeks asking if it had turned up. Eventually I gave up looking, but never stopped being sad about the loss.
And then, yesterday, a surprise. It came back.
A chore much put off, that of sorting through my ridiculous collection of wrapping paraphernalia in the guest closet, led to the emptying of the storage box of ribbons, bows, tissue paper and gift bags. There, at the bottom, was my dulled but still lovely family keepsake bracelet. I can only surmise that it fell into a gift bag while a present was being opened, and there laid undetected for over eleven years. I polished it and immediately began wearing it again, this time first to the jeweler for a safety clasp.
Its loss and recovery made me think about the nature of that which is valuable to us. I oddly enough had the bracelet all along, there in my closet, so hadn’t really lost anything of true value. But because it was lost to my wearing, and unaccounted for in my heart, I grieved.
We treat many things as lost that are not. Losing faith is common, especially in times of sadness or stress, or perceived isolation from the things that make us happy. But the faith is there all along, waiting to be resurrected from the bottom of the box of unnecessary things, much like my bracelet. Regaining confidence in our spirituality ought to be as joyful as finding a piece of jewelry.
Sometimes a dear friend will be lost to the busyness of living, which leaves us no time for long meandering phone calls catching up on each others’ families. Peeking into their lives on FaceBook is no substitute for the meaningful shorthand speak that conjures decades of shared adventures and confidences. I grieve the loss of those roots in my life, but they, like the bracelet, are never gone, just waiting for me to sift through the right box of my past. Besides, I could not today be the person I am without the touch of those friends, so they will never be lost to me.
So when lost things are “found” I will be thrilled, but they will remind me of all the remarkable things which are still a part of me, waiting to be brought back to my immediateness. That which is gone is not really, ever; it cannot be, as long as it has touched me. As long as friends, faith, love, family are still sought they are to be treasured. No matter how deep and unused the storage box.