He left the wallet. Just walked away from it.
The set of strings he needed for his guitar paid for, he inserted his debit card back into the slot. Folding the cloth-covered wallet closed, he walked to the back of the music store, carrying it still in his hand.
How do you do that? Walk away from your wallet, I mean.
He took his little guitar. Strapped it over his shoulder carefully before opening the front door to the shop. Carefully.
The guitar is worth, perhaps, forty dollars.
He took the guitar, but left the wallet.
I looked in the wallet. There was no cash—not that I expected any. There were, however, several items I would not like to lose myself.
The debit card was there, for starters. How do you function without that? Perhaps the absence of cash in the wallet meant there was an ample supply of the same in his pocket. It seems though, that he would have used cash for a small purchase such as he had made earlier, if he had it.
No. The debit card was his connection to cash. He left that with the wallet.
There was a drivers license. How would he answer the nice policeman, when he said the words driver’s license and registration, please? How would he cash a check? It’s likely he’d need to, since the debit card was you-know-where.
There was a lot more. I didn’t sift through it all. The only reason I looked at all was to find a way to contact the man. I found nothing of the sort.
I did see one more thing though—an item, well two items, really—both more important that any of the others I found.
I found a photo of the man’s grandson. Then, one of his son. Treasure! Good-looking young men, both of them. How do you leave those behind?
Over two weeks ago, he left the wallet. Two weeks, and not one phone call. He never asked. Never.
Not even today, when he came back into the store to buy more strings.
I looked at him and smiled, knowing he’d mention the missing wallet soon. It had to be weighing on him heavily. Perhaps, he even felt guilty about neglecting to come back and retrieve the item. Surely, he’d mention it presently.
He never did.
I couldn’t stand it. I handed him the wallet, smiling expectantly.
He grinned sheepishly and said, “Oh, there it is. I wondered if I’d have to contact the bank soon.”
When his wife arrived to pick him up later, he didn’t even mention the wallet to her.
I’m confused. And, a little disappointed. Well? I wanted him to shake my hand vigorously and exclaim in a loud voice about the little cloth single-fold wallet and its contents.
It’s what I would have done.
Oh. There it is.
It’s not the epitome of relief—not the pinnacle of joy—is it?
I have more to say tonight, much more.
I want to talk about treasures we leave behind, purposely and accidentally.
I want to speak of our search for false treasure, while genuine treasure is staring us in the face.
I wish I could awaken the desire in each reader to seek that which has been lost for so long.
Still. The Teacher thought it enough to simply tell the stories of losing—and finding—that which had been lost. He was sure His listeners would understand His meaning. (Luke 15)
The red-headed lady who raised me always asked the same question when I was looking for something I had lost.
Where did you last see it?
It seems we lose many things over the course of a lifetime—love, joy, passion, purpose. Maybe, it’s time we began to seek them again.
I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that at the end of our search, whatever it is we seek, He’ll be waiting. After all, He’s the One who promised if we ask we’ll receive, if we seek we’ll find, and if we knock doors will be opened. (Luke 11:9-10)
Start where you last saw it. It’s sure to be close by.
Oh. A little enthusiasm when we find what was lost would be nice, too.
There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something.
(J.R.R. Tolkien ~ English educator/writer/poet ~ 1892-1973)
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 ~ NIV)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2016. All Rights Reserved.