“Did you look under all the couch cushions in the family room,” I yelled from the living room as I slipped my hand into the crease between cushions and frame of the couch. “Yes Mom, I told you I have checked several times and they aren’t there. I think I left them at a friend’s house.”
It’s the last ditch effort to find my son’s missing glasses. The silver Perry Ellis frames with the transition lenses that cost about one hundred dollars more than the first pair, the black plastic frames from Wal-Mart. They’ve been missing for months and we decide to do one last treasure hunt on our way out to buy a replacement pair.
Trying to find missing objects – cell phones, flash drives, keys, bank cards, money, lunch boxes – it seems to come on the heels of reaching the teenage years. It’s a familiar routine, one accompanied by a mother asking her child to be more responsible.
I think of the parables on the lost found in Luke 15: The foolish shepherd who finds the lost sheep, the careless woman under lamplight and broom to find the coin, the son who squanders his life and returns to his father when he comes to his senses.
The deep sigh of rejoice in the finding, the love breath of God exhaled when the lost return to Him. I hope to realize that deep sigh of relief in this moment. And for the souls dangling loose in the wait.
On the way to the store, I daydream out the sunny blur of the car window when H startles me back to reality with the question, “Did you actually call them to ask if the glasses were at their house?”
“No,” I replied. “Don’t you think they would notice a pair of stray glasses lying around and tell us? The boys would know that they are his glasses, since they don’t wear any themselves.”
He gives me the look. I agree to call, just to cover all the bases (and make everyone in the car happy).
And after I ask, she hesitates. The silence squints. “Just a minute she says, we did have some glasses but I thought they were my mothers. She is always leaving her glasses at my house, so I took them to her house. Let me call her and I will call you back.”
Two minutes later, we discover the missing glasses were exactly where my son said they were all along.
I hang my head in sorrow.
I am the older brother in the fourth parable Jesus tells in Luke 15. The one about the good son checking off the list of self-sufficiency, doing everything “right” and blinded by the obvious. A mirror image for the grumbling Pharisees listening.
And just like those lost glasses, Jesus is out looking for us in our lostness while we sift among the respectable, dressed in our finest self-sufficiency. When I think I have it all together, stand safe in my square on the moral grid of life next the predictable, I miss being found like a diver discovering treasure at the bottom of the sea. I only know what I experience on the surface.
Counting the Multitudes on Monday with Ann, won’t you join me?
- Finding the glasses, even though he still wears the cheap pair anyway.
- That He never tires of looking for the lost, all of us, His children.
- For the milestone, my daughter who turns sixteen this week.
- Conversation with friends that transport to another place, give perspective.
- Prayers of the people that sound like a life transformed.
- Dinners with friends, a reprieve from cooking for two nights.
- For lots of rain that fill ponds back up for the ducks.
- The little girl who sings worship songs next to her Dad without looking at the words.
- The toddler wearing the padded spiderman suit and the pacifier to church because no one told him he couldn’t.