I’ve had a bit of a week of finding things that were lost.
First of all my car keys. The only set we have (having lost the alternative set previously), so a BIG nuisance if they can’t be found. And my choice of location for losing said keys… an eighteen acre field full of hills, long grass and wild flowers… excellent choice. You’re going (like it or not) to get the full story:
I was doing what I spend a lot of my summer doing… ragwort pulling. Now for those of you who are not in the know about such things, and, presumably, have better things to do with your lives, ragwort is a yellow plant that some botanist in history decided to bring into the UK. It is highly poisonous, leaving toxins that accumulate in the liver and ultimately lead to a drawn out and unpleasant death with liver failure, it is also extremely invasive and it’s seeds can hang around in the soil for as much as sixty years before germinating. (Judging from information gleaned from ‘At Home’ by Bill Bryson, our fame-seeking botanist was probably an over paid and under-occupied man of the cloth, normally a younger son of the gentry oh don’t get me started.)
Anyway, you’ve probably caught my mood of the moment… spot yellow flower bobbing head merrily in the breeze (don’t you dare tell me you think it’s pretty), trudge over to it dragging sack of previously dug plants, dig the thing up, making sure you you get the whole darned root, because if you don’t then sure as eggs are eggs, it will be back again next year bobbing its head merrily in the breeze; trudge on to next plant et cetera, et cetera.
Somewhere in this trudging, my car keys fell out of my pocket, I suspect they did it with the sole intention of spiting me. I didn’t discover their absence until it was time to go home and the long walk didn’t help my mood.
So, to cut a long story short, my wonderful husband, son and mother in law all cheerfully volunteered to come and help me hunt (well, husband perhaps driven by necessity and not quite as cheerfully as everyone else, but I’m sure you get the point), and back up to the field we all went.
Now I appreciate that you’re all gripping your seats with whitened knuckles at the excitement of all this, but I’m sure I hardly need to tell you that the chances of finding a car key in an eighteen acre field of uncut grass were not looking positive; so questions ensued… “Where exactly did you go in the field?”
Son (getting bored) “right, how soon do you think it’ll be that we find it now?”
“Well I was wandering back and forth as I found each plant… all pretty random you know?”, and “HOW DO I KNOW?!” Respectively.
I did, however, remember that I had, at one point, fallen over, which might be when the key had made its bid for freedom. But remembering where, exactly, I’d fallen over was quite another thing.
“Where, exactly, did you fall over?”
“Somewhere over there…” expansive wave of hand, “it was near the top of a slope…” (Is it only me that remembers the AA advertisement about small boy called Kevin in the seventies? “IN THE SAND!!!” Ask me and I’ll tell you about it.)
All sadly unhelpful.
Anyway, while I continue to look systematically, but slowly and without optimism, husband Kevin tries some seasoned-hunter-tracking-quarry stuff which proved astoundingly effective. Apparently I am easier to track through the wilds than I had credited myself, and he was able to follow my path through the long grass to where I had hit the deck… stomp, stomp, stomp, flumph.
And there was the key.
Now, please forgive my drawing grand analogies from trite events, but I cannot adequately describe how delighted we were to find that key. A grumpy evening of ragwort pulling was elevated way beyond what might be expected. For the subsequent twenty four hours, there were repeated frissons of pleasure as I recalled the finding of the key against all odds and, somehow, I found the whole episode really did put the story of the Prodigal Son into some perspective…
So my lesson of the day… if I can be so lastingly delighted at the recovery of a car key, then how delighted must God be when one of us who was lost returns to him.
And he was even that delighted when it was me returning to him… Grumpiness and all… Wow!