I find something endearingly hopeful about the found objects that strangers leave for their rightful owners, whether they be a pair of glasses, a toy crab, or a grimy pacifier. We’ve all had the experience of losing something dear to us, and some of us, no doubt, have tried to calm a screaming toddler who will not be comforted by anything other than her or his favorite stuffed toy or blanket.
While I was in Ohio last weekend, I lost my Boston Red Sox cap after having put it on top of my car while I was loading Reggie into “his” backseat for a nearby outing. My parents’ Columbus neighborhood is highly urban, so I knew someone would find and pick up a nice, nearly-new ball cap…but still, I re-traced my route just in case someone who wasn’t particularly attached to the Sox might have found my cap and then stuck it atop a fire hydrant or bus-stop bench. Unfortunately, “finders keepers” applies in the case of nearly-new ball caps.
On a walk through Brookline, Massachusetts this afternoon, it was cheering to think that some distraught toddler with a tired parent in tow might re-trace her or his steps to find a beloved but lost stuffed animal lovingly set out for them by a stranger. How much more perfect, I thought, that Blue Octie is faithfully waiting, hopeful, outside a house of worship. Isn’t a lost toy set out by a kind stranger an apt metaphor for the God of All Things Lost who patiently waits to be found by any passerby?