I attended a ladies’ retreat several years ago with members of my church family. I enjoyed the fellowship and I still remember the exchanges we shared on Friday and Saturday probably more so because of the story I’m going to tell.
When we got to Sunday I accompanied a member of our congregation who was blind. We took communion and as we did, I looked down at my engagement ring and noticed the diamond was gone!
“I can’t cry out at a moment like this,” I thought. The service was carefully planned by our minister and his wife and it was perfect.
When the service was over my friend thanked me for helping her with the logistics of the service. And then she asked “Is there something wrong?”
Relieved to share my dilemma, I told her I had just discovered the diamond was missing from my engagement ring. I took my ring and her fingers so she could feel the empty prongs. “Oh,” she gasped. “Y’all she lost the diamond in her ring.” She called attention to what I just couldn’t do. Disturb the moment. Yet, I thanked her. All my friends searched in the patterns of the carpet where we had been sitting. No diamond.
My thoughts raced searching for some significance to losing that stone now, in this place, among friends during a perfect weekend. I also scolded myself for trying to tie my losing the diamond to a significant answer. “It’s lost, that’s all there is to it.” Others had shared stories of loss that weekend — loved ones, sight, their health. The diamond given to me by my husband was the least among such losses. Rick would understand. Or would he be terribly hurt…I had to find that diamond!
I couldn’t shake the feeling of emptiness. In denial, I kept looking at the prongs–empty–gone. Who knows where? I wanted to think angry thoughts. I even asked, “Why God, would I lose the stone, now, on a weekend like this? Why would you poison the memory with loss?”
“It’s somewhere, and if it’s here, I’m going to do all I can do to find it.”
I went to the elevator we had taken, and I alerted the concierge and bellhop. I returned to my room, searched the bathroom, bed linens and then just sat in a chair by the window. I called housekeeping to be on the lookout. Then I saw a glint by the foot of another chair. I got down on all fours and YES it was the stone from my ring!
“Thank you, God” I prayed in gratitude. I picked up my luggage, placed the loose diamond in my coin purse and when I got to the lobby many inquired about the diamond. “I found it! Thank you so much for your help.
The concierge probably eager to not incur any further mishaps on his watch gave me a sticky note and tape. “Here, for safe keeping.” So I stuck it onto that slip of paper and safely put it in my purse.
In a way, I realized it wasn’t about me that day. I thought of all those who were affected by my loss. My friends, the hotel employees. My prayers were answered and so were the well wishes and prayers of others that day. I returned home to tell Rick this story and what could have been a routine annual retreat is not a blur but remembered by me, Rick and others. “Remember when you lost…?” they still reminisce. No this wasn’t a fairy tale but it certainly had a happy ending.