After 12 years of constant interaction, my passport is a familiar sight. Until a few weeks ago that familiarity lulled me into forgetting the importance of my proof of identity and my permission slip stuck inside.
My husband’s passport went missing and the hoops we jump through right now to get a new one…well…let’s just say we planned to do other things with our summer. Instead he looks forward to multiple days carrying papers around that prove his identity so he can one day receive back official proof of his citizenship and permission to live in a foreign country. Most of the process involves just showing up at the right place with the right paperwork so the official with the big red stamp gets the pleasure of bringing it down with force on the properly filled out forms.
Some things go missing and I give them up quickly as lost. Other things I turn the house upside down for like those gold earrings I misplaced for a time. When I lose things I closely retrace my steps in my head. We lost a fancy camera at the airport once and I didn’t notice for a week. I gave it up for lost with a sad heart but still checked when I took another flight that next week. I received it back from lost and found with tears! Some things come back.
But the passport never came back. We looked and looked. We asked. People helped us. We reluctantly returned home. Then we called from home. Then he went back to look himself. Security officers showed him the surveillance video and he discovered why we never found it. Someone took it off the floor where it dropped minutes after it landed. A man ignorant of its importance or purpose. A man who stood to gain nothing from his theft while it costs us much. Our hope that it slid under a trash can vanished. We lived through the time to search and entered the time to give up for lost.
Trading stories this past week with friends about things lost brought a smile to my heart as I saw more clearly. In searching, in wading through bureaucracy, in looking for things lost I share in the things of the Lord just a bit. An understanding enters my heart. He searches too. He searches for people…he seeks to give a regal identity to the lost. He searched for me.
I do long for the day when passports and visas and proof of citizenship fade away but for now I remind myself of the importance of contemplating things lost as I fill out yet another form or look up yet another important address.
He searches for the lost.