“It should be in the glove compartment.”

There may have been some reproach in the tone of my voice when I said that. I mean- isn’t that where the proof of insurance always is? Why does everyone think I know where everything is? It’s not MY car.  Besides- I get tired of my uterus being mistaken for a GPS. (And I may have a slight case of PMS- just a heads up.)

I spent the next hour digging through glove compartment boxes, the fire safe and the dreaded “mail basket.” (AKA: the basket -where mail goes to die.)

Apparently my GPS is as glitchy as our Garmin that sent me the scenic route to my last speaking gig, because I did not find it. ANYWHERE. I did, however, find approximately $327.00 dollars worth of un-mailed thank you, birthday card and holiday cards. And a pair of leopard print shoe laces. (I wondered where those were.) (FYI- your insurance company can probably email you a temporary copy. Just in case, you know- you also have the filing skills of say, a senile beagle- as I, apparently, do.)

Fortunately- the email arrived in time for middle child to take it with him for his road test. (And the printer was not out of ink. For once.) Bullet dodged. In addition-hubby’s car was cleaned out- because I could not search through that mess without cleaning it up. (Which is probably why searching for things takes me sooooo long. I make huge messes then have to clean them up as I go. Okay- I clean them up after I find what’s missing- griping the whole time. Hmm could it also be a clean-up conspiracy where my guys know if something goes missing- I go cleaning?)

Anyway-once the road test was passed- we needed to gather the child’s “puppy papers” so he could become a  legal driver. The State of Michigan has a handy dandy create your own menu of documents that you may or may not need in order to become a licensed driver. I found everything but the required one: The social security card. You know- the card you guard with your life and never carry around with you because it’s not a legal form of ID -but it is the key to the pandora’s box that is your identity? Which people could STEAL if they got ahold of it? The one that always belongs in the fire safe? Yeah, that one. “BTW- if someone steals your identity- who are you? Is it like wife swap or something- you take on a new id?  Just wondering…)

At this point- we proceed to replay the scene from just a few days before wherein I tear apart the house looking for yet another important piece of paper.

I search the mail basket, the passport case. I force the kid to check his wallet where I’m SURE I made him put it. (Even though he already looked and we both know I didn’t tell him to put it there- because that would be: dumb.) I yell at people and possibly pets. I find: registrations for vehicles we no longer own, pay stubs from the 1980’s. (How did we survive on that? No wonder I was always looking for diaper money in the couch.) I also find that our passports still need renewing. (Funny how they don’t auto renew those….) I find a nail file. (Wondering why that was in the mail basket? Me too.) I also, most likely: threw out several things I will be looking for in a few months. (searching + cleaning= random angry de-clutterng. I am a self intervening paper hoarder.)

FInally- in a fit of frustration, I went through the fire box. Again. Which is where it was. Of course.

I’d have been happy, if I wasn’t so irritated. (Especially when we went to validate the license and they never even LOOKED at the stupid card. Gotta love that. Not.)

At some point the same week- we also had to find the proof of insurance for the oldest’s vehicle. Which,  we were SURE we’d given him. (We hadn’t- that WAS in one of the 15,000 envelopes in the mail basket. WHY do insurance companies have to send SO MUCH MAIL? I Swear I have mail-desensitization. I no longer assume its important if you send me mail every other day. On a related note: I totally wish the USPS would enable us to have “spam” mailboxes for snail mail. Then- I’d never have to go through all the crap to find the important stuff! See? It’s not my fault I’m disorganized- it’s actually- the USPS’s.)

I vaguely remember screaming that the next thing to go missing would surely be my mind. And that “If people don’t start putting things away, I will harm them. In love.” (The “in love” part makes it biblical. Trust me. I was encouraging maturity- even if I wasn’t exhibiting it. And I probably threatened to kill them. Not harm them- but that’s not very Christlike, now is it?)

Right about the time I thought: “Everything is where it belongs- now I belong on the couch with chocolate and a Dr Who marathon.” I noticed I couldn’t find the watch my husband bought me for Christmas.

The expensive one. The one we’d picked out together a year earlier and he’d surprised me with. The one he had to haggle- epically  for to make it fit the budget. That one.

The one I KNOW I always put in one of two places- on the jewelry holder in the kitchen or in the box it came in on the end table next to “my spot. ” on the couch.

I had a vague recollection that before our trip up north I may have put it somewhere that burglar’s wouldn’t be able to find it.

Or, that maybe I’d taken it off at the airport during MOPS Convention and left it in the dog food dish that they make you put valuables in.

Or maybe, I’d actually taken it up north, and misplaced it there.

But I was pretty sure it should be in the jewelry holder. Like a terrier with OCD searching for a misplaced bone, I kept searching the same places over and over. Couch spot. Jewelry holder and all places surrounding.I called the resort we stayed at and begged them to check housekeeping. I searched every purse I may or may not have used in case I had to take it off for blood work or something and forgot to put it back on. (About the only reason I’d take it off when out.) I moved the couch- checked under cushions, behind the yarn bin, in the yarn bin, in the silk flowers on the table behind the couch. (NO clue why- just thought ….maybe..)

I announced to my family that on a scale of 1-10, that this was a 10 and made them look for it, too. I started to suspect someone had snuck in and stole it. I tore my bedroom apart. I looked through every cup in the cupboard just. in. case. I spent hours and hours searching. I cried. I prayed. I asked for prayer on FaceBook. (Because of course FaceBook prays- duh.) I cried some more. I ugly cried. I mean- snot nosed, hysterical- I’ve lost it- and I don’t care- ugly cried.

I tried to tell myself it would turn up. “Watches can’t just walk off and go missing.” “It has to be here somewhere.” Became my tear-stained mantra.

All the regular panic ensued- but this search and seizure was different. The emotion was heightened.

It wasn’t about the watch. It was something more. Much more.

“What if this is the last Christmas gift he ever buys me and I LOST IT?” Echoed through my mind.

I wasn’t doubting my husband’s commitment to our marriage- I was doubting his beating prostate cancer.

We are coming up on both the 1 year anniversary of his diagnosis and his first PSA test since radiation. I KNOW the doctor said: “Remember- no one has ever died from PSA.” But, I feel an intensified fear.

Cancer came into our lives a year ago- and it seems to be the one thing I can’t lose. (Lord knows I’ve tried.) My brain knows that disorganization, anxiety, sadness, crying, forgetfulness (losing things)are all symptoms of grieving….and that even when there isn’t a death- there can be grief. I would like to say: “hey- cancer? Suck it. I’m not afraid of you.” But I am. I’m human. I also- love my husband. (Even if he’s annoying sometimes- let’s face it- i’m annoying most of the time…) and I don’t want him to die.

And all that emotion got tied up in my hysterical search for a watch. That could given the right conditions- could be replaced.

In my brain- (I’d already scared the family enough. screaming at God in front of then- would wreck them for life… probably.) Anyway-I yelled at God. “This isn’t fair. I’ve had enough. Cancer, surgeries……blood tests… Now I’m losing my mind- Can’t you just do one thing for me? I WANT MY WATCH. NOW. Show me where it is! Send a lightening bolt. Anything. Just do something!”

I’d like to say this is the part when a golden light shined from heaven and my watch appeared in front of me to a chorus of angels singing “hallelujah, it’s gonna be alright.” (a Glee-like mash-up of epic proportions. ) It didn’t. Instead- I ran out of time.

We had to leave to go camping with friends. I mean- I wanted to go…. but leaving, and not knowing where that watch was? Took all the self control I could muster. (It’s possible that once I’m on a search mission- I’m a bulldog that won’t (or can’t) let go until I’ve reached my mission completion.)

Finally, I prayed-

“OK lord- if I can’t find it- at least help  me with this mess in my heart, please help me not be miserable all weekend because I can’t find this.  And if I can’t find it when I get home- please help me deal with it’s loss. I know it’s not about the watch. Amen.”

If’ you’re like me and like happy endings-you’re now hoping that once I struggled with God over the loss and fear- the watch showed up THEN and we lived happily ever after- you’re going to be disappointed.

We went camping- without the watch. And I will admit that I obsessed over the watch a fair amount of time (I even re-searched the bags I’d brought…..I mean- It could have been in there.) However- it didn’t wreck the trip.

I resumed the search when we got home- (I couldn’t help it.) to no avail.

Sunday morning- I started to feel better about the whole thing. “Maybe I just needed a good ugly cry. It’s a watch, get a grip.  Kyle is not dying. At least not any time soon, we already know that. If he does die- we’re talking years- not months for pete’s sake.” (Which is morbid and disturbing and how you think when faced with cancer.)  I also kept looking. I just. Couldn’t. Stop.  I wasn’t hysterical anymore. I was just- looking. I knew it wasn’t the end of the world if I didn’t find it. It would just be: sad. But I was ok. Finally. (I think. But, maybe not.)

And on the 397th time of searching the baskets by the kitchen sink…. I found it.

I cried again. Finally- happy tears. 

I heard someone once say that when God really want to make a point- he uses threes. He represents or repeats things three different ways—- As in the parable of the lost coin, the lost sheep and the lost son.  Which sound like really familiar scenes. (Well- if you change them to lost documentation and jewelry- but still.THE SAME. Kind of.) A woman searches her house sweeping it out and looking for a lost coin. A shepherd leaves it’s 99 to find the missing one and a man rejoices when his son finally returns……

None of which are about me my paperwork- or watch- and yet- they are.

Because that sense of urgent searching and care is exactly how God feels about ME. Yes- disorganized- hysterical, messy me. If I were missing God would search for me.

He already did.  And he found me. I think I needed to be reminded of that…..

Even here.

Maybe you do too. Not sure what you’re feeling today- maybe like something is missing, or lost or hysterical or weepy. But I want you to know- you are loved more than paperwork- or watches or gold or diamonds or any other THING….. by me- and by God….. Let him find you- or remind you.

Dear Lord- Thank you for the reminder of your tender care for me. Thank you for tolerating my tantrums and tears and hearing my heart- it wasn’t a lost watch I needed to find- it was a reminder of your care- But lord- necxt time? You COULD do the magic bible thing when you want to get my attention….. You know? Where I flip it open and it’s to something I REALLY needed to read? Yeah- you could do that. Mmmmkay? I love you Lord- amen.

So- what’s the last thing you lost? Did you find it? Where was it? Or are you one of those super organized- I can’t imagine losing anything- I’ll come over and help you get your crap together- kind of people?  Is there anything God has been speaking to you about in threes???? Comment away- i can’t wait to hear- and if anything has turned up missing that you’d like prayer for- let me know- i’ll be glad to pray;)

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”