The Lost Checkbook
Have you ever lost something so important that everything was forced to come to a screeching halt to find it? Like losing your driver’s license the day before you are flying out of state? Like losing an expensive book your friend needs back and is arriving that day to pick it up? Like losing a critical contract you were supposed to bring to the bank to get notarized to inherit money? Like misplacing your car keys and having no spare set?
Why do these things have to happen to us in life?
Yesterday, I lost my checkbook, in which are housed one debit bank card, money, insurance and travel card, a department store card, coupons and discount membership cards, the bank register and checks 3337 through 3355. Great, just great. And I was due to drive across town to visit my stepfather in two hours.
A thorough search of every room in the house turns up nothing. A ransacking of the garbage is without effect. It’s not between the seats of the car, nor under a seat. That would be far too easy. Oh no, it is gone, just plain GONE.
Where did I put that valuable thing? I know I just touched it awhile ago, but if that is true, then where is it now? How can inanimate things sprout legs? Upending upholstered chairs shows nothing and the space under the couches are barren. Not on the bathroom counter, not on any shelf I might have absentmindedly laid it on as I walked by. Of course not in my purse, did you think I would not look there thrice? Not in my carry bag either or my old purse I transferred it from three days ago. It is completely out of view. I don’t get it. I think I’m losing my mind.
Lord, are You there? I’m down on my knees begging You for help, please reveal where I put this thing. Silence. My stomach hasn’t been fed, but it doesn’t care. Nerves are running the show now; I am stressed. I can’t concentrate on anything but the loss of the checkbook. It has to be here, so why isn’t it? And why won’t You show me what I did with it, Lord? I know it’s not Your fault, and You are not my servant. But I’m so frustrated You’re not saving me from myself. I will now have to call my stepfather and tell him I can’t drive across town without my license.
So fine. I’ll go to the DMV to get a duplicate license and stop at the bank and cancel the debit card. Though the wallet probably is still at home, when will I find it? Today? Tomorrow? Next week? I cannot go without a license, nor chance someone using the two credit cards, just in case I misplaced it in public.
So, here I am in a standing room only lobby at the DMV. The only thing fast at the DMV is the arrival line that gives you your identification call number. Mine is A-38.
I keep my eye out for a vacated seat. Though the robotic voice calls out cover numbers quicker than a Bingo loudspeaker, I’m shocked no one gets out of their seat. Finally, several more numbers are called and I can sit down. Maybe reading will settle the stew of disgruntlement brewing within me. Right now, the dial is set on “9.”
I breeze through five devotional entries. I open my grief workbook to do my homework. My day feels utterly wasted.
But then I read something by author Larry Crabb. When something huge happens, it is helpful to acknowledge it, and realize this is where you are at that precise moment. God has placed you right here and right now. And that to best cope with that truth, accept it.
I turn the burner on the stove off, the stew is quieting.
At that precise second, in the middle of the DMV, with the decibel “10” mechanical voice babbling, “O-42, please report to window 17,” and shortly thereafter, “B-65, please report to window 12,” in a distance and time only a track runner could breach, I feel a peace flood my soul. I came into agreement with the Lord that I did this checkbook thing to myself, and just because He did not reproduce it upon request did not mean He was not at work.
I realize that nothing is squandered with the Lord. I might be disappointed, for this is not how I wanted to spend my day. But the day is not wasted. Some things became clear.
First. Things like this are going to happen. This is a flawed world and our brains can only handle so much. The Lord reminded me of a time Mom lost her checkbook some years back. She put it on top of the ATM, to use her card. She walked off with her card and money only, and drove home. When she got there, she realized it and hurried back. It was gone. A thief took it, and could never have thought about how much joy he would’ve brought Mother had he/she turned her wallet into the bank. With this memory, I feel close to my mother.
Secondly, I can be more careful to prevent loss. I will no longer separate my checkbook from my purse, not unlike its mother. Instead, I will bring my purse to where I am and use the checkbook from there. Then, back inside it goes.
Thirdly, I want to come into agreement with the Lord about what occurs. I don’t have to like it, but I can accept it. Acceptance is different, and gives you a magnificent gift: peace. God might not have let me find my checkbook any faster, but the tradeoff were these truths written on me with indelible ink.
When I got home and start looking again, there was more silence. I tried to resurrect my memory of having touched the wallet that morning. Nothing. But then, while I was walking to the garage, something occurred. I stopped in my tracks. A recollection arrived! My husband had given me a ten dollar bill the night before and I put it in the wallet! That meant it was in the house somewhere. Hurray! Thank You, Lord.
My husband helped me look. As he scoured in unusual places, something sent me to the dining room. The Holy Spirit? I turned on the light. I moved around a pile of things on the tabletop. I uncovered something and stared. There lay my blue floral checkbook! I must have laid it down that morning when I was preparing to send Mom’s sweet belongings to my daughter in Georgia. Now, here it was! Waiting for me. (Luke 15:32, …make merry and be glad:….the lost..is found.”
Thank You, Lord for Your patience. Sometimes You do not correct life distresses instantly. In our humanity we misplace things. But You do not condemn. You find the lost. Help us to come into agreement with You, and accept what happens in life. You are in the moment with us, always. Please let us sense that. Amen.