Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Lost and Found

     I lost my notebook.
     Not just any notebook. This was a Moleskine that contained all notes for the next book.
     Every bit of it: Visits to the state mental hospital. Interviews with FBI agents. Insiders at Emerald Downs horse racing.
     Phone numbers. Contacts. Business cards.
     When I first realized the notebook was missing, I had just returned from my college reunion at Mount Holyoke. Searching my bags, I came up empty, then remembered everything spilling from my purse during some high-altitude turbulence.
     I called three airport lost-and-founds, calling day and night. No response. I wrote emails. Left more messages. Still no word. One recording said: "If you don't hear from us, it's because we didn't find it."
     Yesterday marked the tenth day without my notes. Today, I was scheduled to start writing the next book.
    No notes, no go. 
    The last ten days have been marked by a quavering sensation that thrummed across my rapidly beating heart. How in the world can I recreate all that information? 
    The answer kept landing with a thud: You can't. 
    While a close friend prayed for the notebook's return, my sister-in-law, the redoubtable Pasqualina Giorello Labello, told me to take a half-filled glass of water and drop St. Anthony inside. 
    Believe me, I was tempted. But after ten days petitioning lost-and-found, without response, I moved to the next stage. If God could rip every last possession from Job's hands, and Job could still praise God, shouldn't I be able to deal with some missing notes - and still give thanks?
    The notes were gone but I was alive and well. And maybe this awful situation had a point. Maybe I needed to do more research. Maybe I missed something. Delays, as people will tell you after some just-missed accident, have good reasons, although we never see it at the time. 
    Yesterday morning, I gave thanks for that which I didn't want. Instead of asking -- okay, begging -- for the notebook's return, I thanked God for knowing what was best. I got myself into this pickle, could He please show me how to get out of the jar?
   That's when the phone rang. 
   Right smack dab in the middle of that prayer. When I picked up, a man with a Chicago accent as heavy as wet wool said: "Is this da person who lost da notebook?"
    I held my breath.
   "I'm calling from United Airlines," he said. "We found da notebook, at O'Hare Airport."

    If you write this stuff in novels, readers throw the book across the room.
    She gives thanks to God, and suddenly the notebook is found?  Give me a break.
    But that's what happened. Fact. Not fiction.
    "The things that make God dear to us," wrote Oswald Chambers, "are not so much His great big blessings as the tiny things, because they show His amazing intimacy with us; He knows every detail of our individual lives."
    Lost. And found.


  1. My daily rule of thumb: whenever I ask Him for something, I also thank Him for something. Since I have many favors to ask, I end up giving lots of thanks. I'm so glad that He granted your important request, but I am not surprised. I've witnessed prayers being answered before the prayer is finished. He does seem to listen closest to those who listen to closest to Him.

  2. That's so amazing. It's really interesting to note that sometimes God might be waiting to bring about our answer to prayer for us to completely throw ourselves at His feet.

  3. Sister...what an AWESOME story!!!! You know...if I could have...I would have thrown my computer across the room!!! LOL! What a message from can do NOTHING without Him...and He can do EVERYTHING!
    With joy,

  4. Patrick, your rule of thumb is great -- can I please borrow it forever?

    CJ, you're probably right about the "other" reason for the delay.

    And Cherie, do NOT throw your computer out the window. We need your next posting on that cool website of yours.

    Thanks for your wisdom, all.


  5. We are hosting an event billed as a swimming party. As my not-so-much-a-handy-man husband working ever so hard to prepare for it turned the propane heater on (which, if the weather demons would just turn loose, we wouldn't need) and it didn't fire, he tried his I-should-be-able-to-do-something best for 30 minutes to no avail. He stood by it controlling his response. We laid hands on it. Five minutes later he came in with a silly grin. It had started. God, go figure!! Thank you, Lord, for caring about our tiny details, which never look tiny at the time.

  6. I love this, Sib, as well as the commentary. Patrick, I stopped praying for awhile because I was always making requests, petitions. Your approach may get me away from this computer and back to my knees. So glad the notebook is found!

  7. Hey, thanks, Marg. Good to hear from you. And I agree, Patrick's approach is so gracious and good, there's no excuse not to talk to God.

  8. So glad to hear you got this notebook back, Sibella. In inspirational writing your situation would be a much frowned upon IPIG (I prayed I got) format. I'm glad in life we can count on IPIG for grace, peace...even lost notebooks.

  9. I lost my cell phone at Safeco Field at Nick's HS graduation last Friday. Think it must have fallen out of my purse. I prayed and prayed... and the next day, I had a call from a gentleman who was able to pass on the information that my cell was at the Security Gate Entrance, just as his cell phone died! Praise God! And this is at least the 3rd time I've lost it. It's beat up, and well loved... and loaded with cell numbers that I really should log into an email to myself!!!

    BTW, I just finished reading CJ's new book "Thicker" before reading your book "Rivers" -- you're both new authors to me... but I will look forward to reading more from both of you! :)

    Pris Phillips
    Sammamish, WA

    I work in Issy (PT at Chicos) - and at another in Snoq Ridge (PT office job)... loved the local setting!

  10. This is not only priceless, it's publishable--or am I being redundant? :-)

    Glad Someone found your notebook for you. ;-)