How Sweet the Sound

A box sits in the corner of the fellowship hall at church – a milk crate labeled with a laminated page that reads “Lost and Found”. The box overflows with forgotten things gathering dust. Every once in a while someone will empty the contents onto a table with the vain hope that the sippy cups, sweatshirts, mismatched Tupperware, and dog eared books might find their owners among the congregants milling around after church. At the end of the day the original contents, alongside an extra glove or child’s shoe, return to the box to be forgotten for another Sunday.

Those lost, seemingly insignificant items wait for the return of cold weather, the thirsty child, the reader who looks for that book to share. Will a great and joyous reunion take place upon the return of these items? Will they be reintroduced with a shrug and return to normal use? Maybe a little of both. Those lost items, one day found, will fulfill their purpose and use in the world and perhaps one day be forgotten again. There are other lost pieces of our lives though, that weigh more than the items left in pews and strewn about campus.

Recently, I read the sweet story of a mama walking with her teenage son. During their walk, they talked about the fact that at one point the mama carried the son and when she put him down to walk she was unaware that it would be the last time she would carry him. They talked about how we never know when something we’re doing is the last time, and then that mama picked up her teenage son and carried him, just to mark the day. (if you were that mama, reach out and I’ll tag your essay!) 

This sentiment is not new to me, that lasts come and go and are often unmarked where firsts are celebrated. This swells my heart as I continue to move into a time of parenting children who are now teens and twenties who I haven’t picked them up in a long while. I know when I set them down for the last time, there was no realization that that would be the last time I carried them. I did not mark the moment and It feels like a loss – not remembering the moment, not lamenting or celebrating it as I celebrated the firsts. These memories are ones I know must have taken place, but they’ve been lost among the swift movement of the minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years that propel us into the future.

I exist in a space of wondering what I am doing now in the monotony of day to day that is actually a last; something small that seems insignificant, which  I might feel the loss of later.

I’ve continually returned to the feeling of that essay these last weeks. I exist in a space of wondering what I am doing now in the monotony of day to day that is actually a last; something small that seems insignificant, which  I might feel the loss of later. If these patterns I adhere to change, will I miss them? Will I notice that they’ve changed? Will I know if I pick them up again?

There are so many lasts in our lives and so many firsts, and memories and dreams mix in ways that clutter our understanding of the past and future and change our goals and focus. The song, Amazing Grace, comes to the forefront of every word I write here, echoing “I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see”. With those words, my own sense of loss is heightened. This song is a family favorite remembered as a lullaby for some, a lament for others, and in lullaby and lament, through the passing of years, has become a soundtrack highlighting loss, while actively narrating the joy of being found. The lost items, the lost moments, found on a table, found in our memory – their recognition bringing back a string of forgotten feelings.

Maybe sadness and grief, maybe joy and thanksgiving.

Maybe sadness and grief, maybe joy and thanksgiving. Either way, as we find those lost pieces, the recognition of their existence and the weight they place on our shoulders, brings clarity to the fact that we are all a little lost in one way or another. We are all looking to be picked up and found, put back to good use – in our jobs, in our families,  in love, in worship – our lost pathways lead somewhere and we can’t always see the purpose of the path, until it is gone. Only then can we look back and allow that pathway to outline the way the pieces of each day, each choice, joined together to bring us where we are. No longer lost, but found in a new place. May you be found, friend, wherever you are, and remember how loved you are, remember that all of those lost things and pieces of life, have brought you to where you are – they may be tattered and dusty, but once they held meaning – once they held hope, and in remembering, may do so again.

I have been so thankful for this space on The Mudroom Blog, please continue to find me in my own space at http://www.overaroundandthrough.com

Rebecca Detrick
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