Lost, and free!

Today’s Photo Friday theme, Found Objects, has my name written all over it. Not only have I previously blogged found objects like a child’s stuffed octopus, a rain-soaked pair of glasses, and a dirty pacifier, I have an entire blog category devoted to the subject. In a world where it’s so incredibly easy to get lost, it gives me a sense of hope to think that sometimes, precious things like stuffed toys, blankets, and binkies are found.

Money grows on trees?

It seems similarly optimistic to think that someone stumbling upon a wallet in the woods would simply brace it on a branch, allowing its rightful owner to re-trace steps to re-claim it. Have I any way of knowing whether the various keys, watches, and cell phones (!!!) I’ve found in the woods over the years have ever found their way back to their rightful homes? No. But still, I hold out hope that somewhere and someday, possessors and possessions will be reunited, this wallet staying in precisely the same spot on a heavily traveled trail for several days before someone, rightful owner or otherwise, claimed it. Only a philosopher will dare ponder whether this wallet was finally found or merely lost again.

Matching pair

There’s something sad about a single lost glove bereft of both home and mate…but a matched but nevertheless lost pair is a real rarity. If you’re lost with a companion, are you truly lost? Or is a matched pair of gloves merely wandering, seeking adventure apart from any interfering appendage?

Found pacifier

Lost kitten

But if found objects like cast-off pacifiers give me hope, posters advertising the lost tug at my heart, pointing as they do to the way loved ones sometimes disappear and ultimately pass. It’s one thing to believe (on Good Friday of all days) in the God of Lost Things…but who but the most optimistic holds out hope for a kitten lost right before a massive snowfall? Whether one lost kitten makes it through another storm, shouldn’t we all find comfort knowing that someone, somewhere, believes, hopes, and prays she can?

Still lost

Love is akin to hope, so those who love truly hope deeply as well. The posters J and I spotted earlier this month for “missing Max” looked brand new, but Max hasn’t been seen since August. Is an entire season or more too long to hold out hope for a returned friend? At what point do you stop putting up posters or take down the weathered ones that remain, reminders that the lost aren’t always found? Or does a faithful friend ever stop looking, wondering, and hoping, believing in his heart of hearts that Max is out there somewhere, and okay?

If faith were enough to bring lost cats and kittens home, return wallets to their rightful owners, reconcile mis-matched mittens, and return toys, blankets, and binkies to the little ones who love them, we’d have nothing in the way of Lost and Found in this world. Instead, we live in a messy and dangerous place where we sometimes lose, forget, or misplace the things we value the most, and people who don’t know or care about the true value of our sentimental things find them as if by mistake, not knowing the love, hope, and disappointment they hold. These aren’t just lost animals and objects, you see: they’re forlorn wanderers looking for home.