This is my outdoor area where I do most of my outdoor painting and restoration work. The sand circle used to hold a small swimming pool that the girls have long since outgrown the desire to have, so now it is employed as my "can make a mess here area." On Friday, I had about 5 different projects going on in this little space. Imagine the plastic tarp covered with large paint chips and sanding dust and sand tracked across it. It was a mess. My final project was to scrape down a six foot long peeling bench. After finishing, I removed my dust mask, but unfortunately, the elastic band caught my ear, snagged on my diamond earring and popped it out of my ear, flinging it yonder. I heard a tiny "plip" making me think it hit the tarp.
Let me backtrack a moment. I wear diamonds in my ears every day. Years ago, my ears became very sensitive to any thing worn in the piercing hole except for a tiny bit of gold. Fritz took Kayleigh shopping one Christmas season and together they bought me a pair of diamond earrings that I wear every day since. I lost one once while out doing a day's worth of activities and was crushed. It is not so much the loss of a diamond (it is just a thing after all) but the loss of an item attached to the memory of Fritz and Kayleigh picking these out for me and their joy at doing so together, and of Kayleigh being so excited as a little girl having gotten to do this for me. I treasure the feelings it brings forth. So for several months, no set of earrings. For my birthday later that year, Fritz and I went and replaced the earring. We traded in the larger remaining diamond earring for a set of two new smaller ones. Now the memories are even nicer, for what started with Fritz and Kayleigh, continued with Fritz and me. Back to wearing my diamonds everyday, and then Friday, "plip" one is gone and now very much like the proverbial needle in a haystack. Finding my small diamond in that mess or in the grass around the mess if it had bounced off the tarp, seemed impossible.
I called to Fritz and Heidi, who were home inside the house, and together we searched for the earring to no avail. I was on my hands and knees with them, scouring every inch of the tarp. No diamond. I went inside to fix supper which was long overdue, leaving Fritz and Heidi still looking. No diamond. My plan was to go back out after supper and carefully sweep the tarp and sort through all the junk collected for the diamond. If I could not find it, I would go out with the flashlight after dark and see if it might catch the light. I went out alone after dinner, picked up my broom and with my first stroke simply opened a conversation with God as I often do (my favorite form of prayer) and told Him that I would really like to find that diamond if it was okay with Him. I walked to the corner of the tarp where there was the least amount to sweep, and where by the way I had spent most of my time earlier looking on hands and knees (as Fritz and Heidi had been looking on the other side), and there lying as plain as day was the diamond stud, not a thing around it, not a thing covering it, just as plain as could be, my diamond.
At church yesterday, the youth pastor gave the sermon as the regular pastor is on a mission trip in Kenya with a group of folks from our congregation. He talked about how blessed we are to be living in a nation of freedom. Freedom to work whatever job we choose, live where we want, send our children to school where we want, pray and worship how and where we want, love whom we want to, etc., etc. But with so much freedom, often comes insecurity. When we are free to define ourselves, we often find ourselves wondering, "Who am I? Who should I be? What should I do? How should I do it? Does anyone even know I am here?" He reminded us that though we are free, we are not best off when we are independent. We are, and need to be, dependent on something greater than ourselves. That something is a Someone: God. Jim reminded us (and this really hit home, having the experience I did on Friday) that we need to go to the source when we are looking for answers. Just as when he could not find his swimming trunks and towel he had left in the dryer, he had to go to the source of the laundry chore (that day, his older daughter) to find where they had disappeared to. Going to the Source provides us answers, comfort, love, acceptance and so much more. Psalm 37 vs.5 says to "Commit everything to the Lord. Trust him, and He will help you." It wasn't until I quietly went to the Source on Friday and asked for His help that I met with success in finding my diamond. It wasn't so much that I found the diamond (a thing) that excited me, but the right-in-your-face reminder that God was there with me, cared about my loss, and helped me find it. I am important to Him, just as we all are, and He was letting me know right then and there in a great big, tiny way. Now the memories attached to that little diamond are even more precious.
It is interesting that in writing the Declaration of Independence, our forefathers reference God four times: one as the Maker of the laws of nature, one as the Supreme Judge of the world, one as Divine Providence and one as the Creator of all things. While this document was being written as an assertion of their "independence" to the king of England, they were at the same time submitting to their "dependence" on God in this new endeavour of becoming a separate, free nation. This truism, along with my experience on Friday and our pastor's well spoken message on Sunday, fills me with such joy and gratitude. I live in a nation of freedoms, under a God who loves me and has time for me even on a balmy summer night in a sandpit. How much more reason do I need to celebrate?!
Happy Independence Day and may you also know the great joy of being dependent!