After retiring from the ministry, I continued a habit I had relied on for decades. I kept a calendar/workbook to organize my activities, and compile important records I would need at the end of the year.
During the first eleven years of retirement, I traveled as an artist. I also worked on staff in several churches, or served part-time pastoral appointments. In my calendar/workbook, I recorded meetings, visits, events, attendance, and even honorariums. I also had a contact list of key people.
The next stage of retirement involved becoming a caretaker for my wife as she dealt with a severe neurological condition. My notebook came to contain an elaborate network of medical information, providers, and related material.
During this time I also began writing. My calendar/notebook, became the repository for pertinent information and contacts related to publishing.
So, when a question arose Easter Sunday about scheduling something, I reached for my calendar/workbook. It wasn’t on my desk, or in my car. I practically turned the house inside-out trying to find it, to no avail. It was gone!
I tried to remember where I might have put it down away from home, and made some phone calls, with no success. When I prayed about this, I felt an assurance that it would turn up. I even had an intuitive picture in my mind of my workbook lying on a paved surface somewhere. I called places I’d been, but no one had seen it. No one had turned it in.
On Tuesday, I decided it was simply lost, so I bought a new one. My wife and I called places to recover appointments we knew were scheduled in coming weeks. Many clues were in my computer, but not a duplicate of the workbook.
Tuesday evening I noticed my cell phone was turned off. I found a missed call with a message from a man I’d never met, who lives near our home. He had found a calendar/notebook along the heavily-traveled highway in front of our subdivision. Seeing information inside that looked important, he started to look for the owner, ultimately calling me.
I called him back and we met a few minutes later. I thanked him and gave him a copy of one of my Dinkel Island novels. I also thanked God. The book was in rough condition, having been through a deluge of two severe thunderstorms, and there were tire tread marks on it, so it had been run over. Most entries are still legible.
Finally, I realized what had happened. I had loaded some things in the back of my car on Saturday. The calendar/notebook in my hand made it difficult to do this, so I put it on the roof of the car, intending to move it inside. Then I went into the house for something before backing out of the garage and driving away–forgetting I’d left the notebook on the roof.
We have a low speed limit in our subdivision, so it rode on the roof until I stopped, then accelerated, pulling into traffic. That’s when it came off the car. Remembering this, I could identify the pavement I’d seen in my prayer/vision.
The lost was found! It was never lost to God, but it was to me. When I prayed, but didn’t understand the answer, God sent someone else to recover it for me. Thanks be to God!
In our bustling world of emotional frenzy and surface interactions, we sometimes miss the honest goodness that resides within most people. I thank God for one good man’s efforts. I hope I am as diligent for others.