And great rejoicing…
I usually wear a ring on my right thumb, and the ring I wear there is usually one that belonged to Mama. More specifically, there are a couple of her old rings that I take turns wearing on that thumb. Unfortunately, I often fidget with my ring, rolling it up and down my thumb, and sometimes it slips off entirely. Several months ago this happened at work, and the ring got lost.
I heard it drop to the floor and roll briefly…then I heard it drop a second time. The environment I work in has elevated floors to allow for electrical cables to pass underneath, between layers of flooring which are several inches apart. And in a number of spots there are small access holes for those cables to plug in to the machines we use in our daily work.
When I heard my Mama’s ring drop that second time, my stomach dropped with it. I scrounged around on the floor on my hands and knees, with a flashlight, scouring every inch of floor in that little room, hoping to find my lost ring. I even dug into the tiny access hole as far as my hand would reach (which wasn’t very far at all), shining my flashlight into that minuscule space. No luck.
I gave up hope that it would ever surface again. I even bought a “replacement” for it on eBay, an ersatz ring that resembled the lost one. But I knew it was just a poor substitute for the original. The thing is, it was not a valuable ring in terms of money, really. Its real value was that it was Mama’s.
We’ve all had similar experiences, haven’t we? We’ve somehow managed to lose something that we treasured, whether it had any real monetary value or not. And even if we were able to find another item that looked like the lost one, it was never the same.
Fortunately, my story has a happy ending. The area in which I lost that ring is currently under demolition/construction as part of a major rebuild happening in my department. When I learned that the area was going to be demolished I spoke with my managers and told them I had lost a ring in that room, and asked them to alert the construction crew in case it turned up. One day last week as I ate lunch, one of the construction fellows found me and asked if I was the lady who lost a ring in that room, and I responded that I was. He held up a slim gold band and asked, “Is this it?”
And my heart soared! What was lost had been found, and with tears in my eyes I said, “Yes, that’s it! Thank you so much! It’s not really worth much, but it was my Mama’s and I am so glad to have it back.”
It reminds me of the Bible stories where something, or someone, is lost for a time and then found and restored to its/his/her right place. In each story there is great rejoicing when what was lost is found. I’m grateful to have Mama’s ring back…and it seems fitting that it should be restored to me during Lent, a time when I contemplate Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, a love that restores me to God, no matter how lost I feel.