When I was in first grade I went to a roller skating party at a local Catholic church. A bunch of us kids went right after school. Pretty basic--you skate around the gym to music, and there is a table for candy if that's your bag. My dad gave me two quarters in case I wanted a treat.
I was shocked by his gift. The previous day, my sister and I were with him on an errand, and when one of us asked for something (a movie from Blockbuster? ice cream?) He explained he didn't have the money. He opened his wallet, and there was a ten, a five, and two ones in it. Seventeen measly dollars. My eyes filled out my face. I was six, but I knew a family needed more than seventeen bucks to get by.
I knew I would not spend the fifty cents. I skated around with friends and when everyone stopped for Reese's and Kit Kats, I pushed down into my overall pockets and felt for the sleeping coins. One was gone. GONE. I immediately felt tears welling up in my eyes. I gathered my friends and told them, "Look. My family has seventeen dollars. I lost our only quarter. I'm so worried. We must find the quarter!" They nodded woefully and split up. We rolled around staring at the floor. Must find the quarter. Must find it.
After about two minutes everyone else gave up, but I spent the remainder of the party searching. When the event was over, the skates came off, and I regretfully told my dad the news. "I'm sorry," I wimpered. He tried to assure me it was okay--the quarters were for candy anyway. But I knew he was just trying to make me feel better. I knew the truth.
The next morning the missing quarter was taped up to the doorway of the kitchen. It had been deep in my pocket the whole time. I felt relieved.
Me & Poppa, August 2010, Farmer's Market
Here's the takeaway from that story:
1. Not only did the lost become found and all was well,
2. All was actually well the entire time. Because my family was not going to suffer from losing a quarter--no matter how much I believed it to be so.
3. That is how it always is. Yes, things should work out how they should work out, but ultimately the scope of "things" is much farther and wider than we can possibly imagine.
4. How often are we missing the party to rollerskate with eyes glued to the wooden gymnasium floor?
But I promise you this,
I'll always look out for you.
That's what I'll do.