August 15, 2023

From the Rector…

I lost my keys…again. The Friday we left for the beach, I intentionally put my keys on the keyboard next to the back door so that I would know exactly where they were when we got back from our vacation. Or so I thought. On Sunday morning as I was heading out the door to church after a relaxing and refreshing week at the beach, I went to grab my keys only to discover they were not there. After thirty minutes of searching, I gave up, found an old set, and headed to church. When I got home that afternoon, I resumed the search but to no avail.

In the days since my return from vacation I have searched the house, the refrigerator, the bathrooms, the shed out back, both cars, my office, and just about everywhere else I could think. I prayed to St. Anthony, the patron saint of lost things and my number one ally in the heavenly cubicle office of saints, but still to no avail. The keys were either at the beach or lost for good.

Losing stuff is hard. There is a certain amount of frustration and even anxiety tied to losing something—especially if it is valuable, sentimental, or of a practical nature. Losing another person or a pet is heart rendering. I miss the small, golden cross my parents brought me from their trip to the Vatican years ago. I grieve the loss of my father—some days it is easier and other days it makes me want to pull the covers over my head and hide from the world, drowning in my own misery. Both are losses and yet the material ones cannot compare to the loss of a loved one or even the loss of the life of a stranger who lives a million miles away.

This past week, Maui has suffered the loss of both—homes and possessions as well as loved ones and friends. My heart grieves for them. For the loss of all that was once beautiful, for the laughter that will no longer be heard, for the calls of the wildlife that have been silenced forever. Maui will come back. Houses can be rebuilt. People will mourn and find a way forward. Wildlife will regenerate. But the loss will weigh heavy upon their hearts for some time to come.

I think the worse loss though, is when we’ve lost God. Or maybe when he has lost us. The parables of the lost coin, the lost sheep, and the lost son in scripture remind us that searching ends in rejoicing when that which was lost becomes found. That is true whether it is God seeking us or us seeking God. The determination with which we are willing to seek and the resilience to continue to search make the finding that much more important to us. God is the most resilient and determined of all—he will never stop seeking us no matter what.

Though I had given up any active searching for my keys, I remained in conversation with St. Anthony assuring him that I was willing to wait and trusted him to direct me to the keys when it was time. Sure enough, when I went out to pooper scoop the backyard a few days ago, I saw something silver glinting in the sunlight on the hill where Archie likes to take his afternoon naps. It was my church keys. I started diligently searching the backyard in hopes of finding my house keys. I even told St. Anthony I would be happy to discover them under a pile of poop. Fortunately, they were not under any poop, but on the ground right next to where I keep the pooper scooper. 

Those two little mischievous basset hounds had stolen my keys off the keyboard and been playing with them in the backyard! I couldn’t even be angry because I was so excited to find the keys (and amused by the ingenuity and audacity of the Tweedles, Archie and Petunia). I quickly ran to share my joy with Steve who got a good laugh and rejoiced with me.

We all experience loss; that is a part of life. Those losses are not the end. Rejoicing will come even and especially when we face sorrow and regret. Search diligently and rejoice wildly. We have only this one life in which to discover all that God gives to us.

Light and Life,