Absence may make the heart grow fonder, but loss makes us sad. Several years ago, I bought a hand-knitted multi-colored wool scarf from a nonprofit association I’m a member of. The creator of the scarf had donated it to the organization which then auctioned it off in a fundraiser. Having seen the scarf online and having immediately liked it, I sent in what turned out to be the winning bid. A week later my lovely new acquisition arrived in the mail, just in time for the cooling weather. I wore it proudly for two seasons. Then one day it wasn’t hanging in its usual spot. I looked everywhere. I called the gym. I called the church office. I checked both cars and every possible nook and cranny in the house. Nothing. It was simply gone...
Much more recently Cedar, my wife, and I were on a Monday hike with our church’s hiking club. Although the Colorado sun was shining brightly on this late-May day, it was an especially windy morning. The cap I had chosen to wear had been a gift from my old prep school. It was a black baseball cap with a large white P on it under which, also in white, was printed the word “Alumni.” Someone had once asked me if I had gone to Purdue University. No, I replied, the P was for my Central New Jersey boarding school, Peddie. Anyway, on this blustery morning, I was concerned it might blow away, and my arm was tired of holding it on my head. So, clever me, I stuck it under my sweatshirt. About five or ten minutes later, I felt for it. No cap. Given the wind and the high grass on either side of our path, it was irretrievably gone. I wasn’t aware of when or where it snuck out from under my sweatshirt, so hours of searching would have been useless. Two prized possessions gone within a span of three months.
In both cases I remembered my spiritual guide telling an audience of us how when he lost things, he would say to himself, “Oh, it just moved.” He never worried about such things and found that he was always provided for. A follower of his spiritual practice for 61 years, I tried to emulate his light-hearted approach to my two losses and willed myself not to fret. After all, I had other caps and scarfs. Soon I had seemingly forgotten about both events. Five days after my “de-cap-itation,” Cedar and I arrived at my 60th Yale class reunion. Among other things, we alums each received a Yale cap. Then, several days later at my brother-in-law’s lake-association meeting, I looked longingly at the lake-oriented caps on the merch table. Before I knew it, Dan had bought me another new cap. Finally, a week ago I was picking something up from our nearby pharmacy and happened to see a lovely wool scarf on sale on one of the counters. It was only $9.99 rather than the tag price of $54.95. When I took out my debit card to pay, the cashier said that I had an $11 credit on my account, so no payment was due. At this point I remembered the Latin saying Deus providet. In other words, this is really a tale about the importance of not fretting over lost things. Given half a chance, God will indeed provide.