Summer kisses

Besides being a saver, a sewer, a survivor, and a farm woman of the Nebraska prairie, my grandmother was a hider.

An expert hider. What she hid was unlikely to be found. Sometimes even by her.

She hid presents. She hid treasures. She hid tidbits. She hid this-n-that.

She hid it so well that, come Christmas or birthday or tax day or cleaning day, there was a chance that the hidden thing Рno matter how essential to the celebration, task, or event Р sometimes never did unhide itself, no matter how much searching or looking or seeking.

The end result was that sometimes when my grandma was looking for an important hidden bank statement, she found instead the previous year’s Christmas present for a distant relative. Or when she was looking for an important Christmas present, she found instead next year’s birthday present (already wrapped but without a recipient’s name indicated anywhere). Or when she was looking for a new box of baking soda she might find an important letter that she’d needed last year.

I learned a lot of things from my grandmother. One of them was to not be a hider, mostly because I know I would be even less successful at finding hidden treasures than she was. (I struggle to find even the unhidden treasures.)

Still, her blood runs thick in my veins.

So on this hot, humid, miserably damp July day, it was quite a treat to reach back into the cupboard in search of honey and find this instead:

Photo: CKirgiss
Photo: CKirgiss

In all their miniature glory, these two lost-and-founds are my grandmother (who hid things), my grandfather (who loved sweet things), and the incarnated babe (whose birth was the beginning of finding all lost things).

These two lovelies have been patiently waiting alongside the Pyrex bowls for eight months, ready since last December to unexpectedly brighten someone’s day.

Mission accomplished.

Lost and Found (Michindoh Post 9)

[This post is ninth of a series in which I reflect on spending a month at camp for Wyldlife (middle schoolers) and YoungLives (teen moms). You can follow by subscribing to this blog below. All posts are categorized as ‘Michindoh 2013’.]

The busses just pulled out. 350 campers and leaders are on their way home.

We are left here to rejoice in the way we saw God at work – and to cope with the empty space left in our hearts by those who just departed.

It’s hard to say goodbye.

Sure, tonight we might get to relax, and tomorrow we don’t need to rise for an early breakfast. But we will miss the faces we were just getting to know and the smiles we were just growing used to and the souls we were just starting to love.

Those 350 middle-schoolers left behind a deep well of joy and hope and grace and love.

They also left behind this:

Lost, not found (Photo: CKirgiss)
Lost, not found (Photo: CKirgiss)

. . . shirts and shorts and shoes and all manner of stuff that a middle-schooler may not miss, (but the mother who bought it might).

It’s this way at the end of every camp week. Kids are so busy running and playing and laughing and dancing and hanging out and having fun that lost items of this-or-that often go entirely unnoticed. Unmissed. Unseen. Unsought. Unclaimed.

The items in this pile that are expensive, clean, stylish, and attractive might someday be claimed.

The items in this pile that are ripped, worn, smelly, and dirty will not.

Thank goodness the same is not true of God’s view towards humanity.

He is never too busy holding the stars in place or breathing life into the universe to not notice a lost soul.

And He does not consider any lost soul – regardless of whose it is, where it has been, what it has done – to be a merely this-or-that item, not worth the effort of seeking and finding.

Jesus came not to condemn the world but to redeem it. Jesus came to offer hope to those who know they are broken. Jesus came to show us how to live.

Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. He does not distinguish between those who appear to be clean, stylish, and attractive and those who are obviously ripped, worn, and filthy.

He seeks them all. Unceasingly. Lovingly. Faithfully. Gently.

And when He finds even just one – well, then the cosmos is momentarily shattered by the joy within His heart and the celebration throughout the heavens.

We once were lost. We now are found.

Nothing will never be the same.

Of A Tiny Letter “C” (And also Jesus)

Photo: CKirgiss
Photo: CKirgiss

Every now and then, someone gives the perfect gift. Something meaningful. Something delightful. Something unexpected.

Something so perfectly suited to the receiver that it’s near impossible to put its awesomeness into words.

I got one of those gifts this Christmas. Something meaningful. Something delightful. Something unexpected.

Something so perfectly suited to me that it was near impossible to put its awesomeness into words.

So instead, I put it on. Wore it constantly. Fingered it lovingly. Glanced down at it joyfully. Slid it back and forth contentedly along its bumpy metallic chain. Enjoyed deeply its personalized kitschy awesomeness.

For three days.

Until I lost it.

Either in the Denver International Airport or somewhere near seat 27C on Flight 773.

Lost. It. Absolutely. Thoroughly. Indubitably. Tragically.

Kerthunk-went-my-heart. Over and over and over again.

That kerthunk is an achy thing indeed. Takes over your insides. Sends you into a frantic state of frenzy. Messes with your breathing. Undercuts your contented self.

So at 2:30 a.m. a few days post Christmas – after glancing in the airport restroom mirror while washing my hands and seeing a bare, broken chain slowly swinging back and forth, back and forth from where it dangled around my neck – I plunged into panic-frenzy-frantic mode and started walk-searching the entire A concourse. Up and down, up and down. Over and over and over again. Back and forth, back and forth. Every corner. Every tile. Every carpeted aisle. Every moving walkway. Every stair. Everywhere.

I begged the crew to reboard the plane of Flight 773 and search seat 27C (and also mayhap all the other seats, and the aisles, and the underseats, and the restrooms, and the galleys, and maybe even the cockpit) in search of a Scrabble-tile-sized pendant encasing a teeny-tiny “C” within its soldered glass.

Which they did.


While I kept walking.

Without ever finding.

Which was really just too sad for words.

The search to replace that little “C” expended more emotional energy (and actual time) over the new few weeks than was perhaps warranted.

But I loved it. And missed it. And wanted it to be hanging from around my neck where it belonged.

So today when a long-awaited replacement – made by the original artisan – arrived in a teeny-tiny package from way down South, well, it was a very happy day indeed.

Because what was lost is now found. Remade actually. Into a new thing altogether. Straight from its creator’s hands.

And where was once an empty chain, there is now a new letter “C.”

Safely home at last.

I – who have so keenly felt the kerthunked-heart sorrow of a lost little pendant that I did not make and that had been mine for only a few short days – will never doubt the Almighty’s kerthunked-heart sorrow for lost little me. Or His infinite love. Or his unceasing search. Or his miraculous remaking into a new thing altogether. Straight from my Creator’s hands.

And where was once an empty soul, there is now a new forgiven me.

Safely home at last.

[This moment of breathtaking (and undeserved love) brought to you by the little letter “C.”]