It didn’t start out bizarre. It was just a Sunday, one where we were scrambling out the door, I was sidetracked by computer stuff (for the parish, no less), and I had a catechist lunch afterward but hadn’t planned for transportation.
No big deal. In fact, the desserts at the lunch were by my favorite dessert-baking parishioner, so nothing bizarre there. Just a lot of ingestion. (And some afterward texting for My Hero to come and pick me up.)
I gave my talk (“Three Best Practices for Catechists”), rah-rahed the catechists, yapped with the religious ed director, and was emptying trash when I realized I didn’t have my key.
The key that opens the door to the closet with garbage bags. The one that opens the locked doors.
So, like any good little parish employee, I trotted to the parish office to see if I could find a key there. No luck.
But there was an envelope with my name on it in big block letters.
I grabbed it and headed back to the room where my colleagues (and their keys) were, ripping into the envelope as I walked.
And what to my shocked eye should appear, but…
…a Saint Anthony necklace.
Yes, I have a devotion, a long-standing more-than-just-when-I-lose-things devotion. And I’m loud about it. So it wasn’t that big of a surprise, really.
As I turned the package over, I saw a little velvet bag. So I did what anyone would do: I opened it.
…THERE was my diamond.
The one I never thought I’d see again. The one I had cried over in the receiving and in the losing. The one that I didn’t realize stood for so much until it was suddenly gone.
Yes, I asked for prayers when I saw my diamond was gone. And cried big fat tears.
(There’s a longer story here, yes, and you’ll get it…later this week, I promise. I can’t keep it in.)
I have no idea whose handwriting that is on the envelope. And right now, I’m okay with that.
This weekend, I’ve been whipping through Karen Beattie’s Rock-Bottom Blessings: Discovering God’s Abundance When All Seems Lost. And I’ll be writing a more proper review next week as part of the blog tour.
Today, though, I haven’t been able to get away from the fact that so much of this book resonates with me. (Written with a nod to the folks at the Patheos Book Club, who double-teamed with the publisher…and Saint Anthony?…to make sure I had plenty to write about…)
And somehow, it’s all summed up for me in that little rock that came back to me today.
Beattie examines, through her book, in a timeline I couldn’t quite follow (but didn’t really need, really), what “blessing” really means. She takes it from the side and underneath and at angles I haven’t put words to. It’s fascinating. And maddening.
I have seen loss and hurt and pain up close and personally. (And haven’t we all? Yes, in my experience, yes.)
As I’ve read this book, and found myself near tears a few times, I’ve nodded quite a bit.
Where IS God in that pain? In that hurt? In that injustice and sorrow and frustration?
But…where ISN’T he? Isn’t that the journey I’m on too?
I feel like maybe I know Karen Beattie, like maybe we have a lot in common. I feel like maybe I can hand her book to a few people I love very much and have them understand.
Reading this book and finding my diamond are still so very fresh for me…I’m still very much processing. When I lost my diamond, I didn’t necessarily wonder why God would let it happen. I blamed myself (who knew you should have your ring checked? I didn’t. So go, have your ring checked. TODAY.), and I just accepted that, well, that’s the end of that.
I’ve been surprised, though, at how much being without my ring has grieved me. Not just because it was pretty on my finger, but also because it has come to be a little reminder for me in so many ways.
I’ve gotten in the habit of moving my wedding ring to my other hand when I need to remind myself of things, from picking up milk to praying for my husband, from going home a different way to sending a little love note in his lunch, from an important deadline to making date plans.
My ring, I realized, represented more than just ten years together. It stood for the rock of my faith, the the sacrament of my marriage, the fact that the pretty was made through fire and crushing.
Karen Beattie, I think, would understand this and be able to articulate it better. She already has, in fact, in her book. Reading about her mom’s death and her reflections on parenthood ripped me open at a level I haven’t felt in a while. It was uncomfortable, but it was also cleansing somehow.
I feel challenged by this book, and even more now that it’s linked with my diamond suddenly reappearing. I won’t be able to think about baptism the same way again. And, for that matter, I hope not to be able to look at my own blessings with quite the same nonchalance as I did yesterday…