We lose things around here on a pretty regular basis. Gloves, camera, library books: you name it, we’ve searched for it. We have a few amazing stories of recovery. Example: Julie lost a ring on the beach in Delaware. She begged me to drive her back to the bay so she could search. I knew the odds of finding a small silver ring on a vast expanse of sand (1:1,000,000), but we hopped in the car. At the shoreline, the digging began. It was getting dark, and we were both near tears of frustration when—what was that glimmer among the seashells? The ring! And how did we find it? Simple. I prayed to my old friend St. Anthony.
Call it Catholic superstition if you will. Maybe prayer calms and focuses the mind enough to be drawn to the missing object. However it works, I’m here to tell you it works. St. A is the go-to guy when the car keys go AWOL yet again, when the iPod disappears. Losing things doesn’t really bother us too much—all we have to do is call on the Patron of Absentminded People. He ALWAYS comes through.
Until this Election Day.
The church where I work is a polling place, and throughout the day strangers come in and out as they vote. They vote at the front of the church, in the narthex. My office is in another part of the building entirely. It never, ever occurred to me that I might be vulnerable to theft.
But that morning, I was next door talking with the pastor. The secretary buzzed in the UPS deliveryman, and someone else came right in behind him. After signing for the package, Meg went down the hall, only to find Mystery Man standing in my office. He mumbled something about looking for the voting booth and left hastily.
Late that afternoon, I picked up my purse. It was light as a feather! It was—walletless. What the heck? I’d been robbed, and in church of all places. As I tore my office apart and literally beat the bushes outside, I began my familiar litany: “Please, St. Anthony, please help me find it!” I looked and looked, in vain. The lucky thief had hit a pretty pathetic jackpot: $35, my driver’s license, a used-up Visa gift card. A few other credit cards (quickly cancelled), and proof I was both a Costco member and a CVS card holder. But still…
It’s been almost a month now, and while I retain hope that my tattered leather wallet will magically materialize, I am realistic. It’s probably gone with the wind, along with the perp who fingered it.
I can only conclude that even saints take time off once in a while. We’d kept Tony incredibly busy over the years. Now he was taking a well-deserved rest. At a heavenly resort, I pictured, margarita in hand. Cell phone on silent. I don’t blame him a bit.