Have you ever lost something you really liked? I have, and I usually turn the house upside down and rack my brain to figure out where I’ve left it. Did I leave it on top of my car and drive off like I did with my favorite Bible one time? (Good news on that one—I found the Good News by the side of the road and still have it to this day.)
There’s something weird about human emotions that allows us great joy at finding a lost thing. It’s almost as if it’s brand new. I remember cleaning out a toy box as a child and finding toys I hadn’t seen in a year. It was as if it were Christmas morning and the toys were brand new all over again.
Every time that happens, I promise myself to appreciate and be grateful for the formerly lost thing. And as 2020 would have it, that emotion, that experience has happened to me in an adult way twice this week!
The details don’t matter, but it has been a week from Hell. Tough times reveal a lot of things, and one thing they do is clarify relationships. You find out who your friends are when things are tough. Your friends show up—they stand beside you and behind you when the world has gone crazy. Your friends have your six while family and others walk away. Your friends first assume good things.
Finding out who’s on my friend list and who’s not has brought me great joy this week. We would all rather have a smaller list and one we can count on than the shallow toasting of glasses by people who run at the first sign of trouble. I feel like I’ve found a toy at the bottom of my toy box and it’s Christmas morning all over again. My deepened love and loyalty to the now shorter list is a thing of great joy.
The second time this week I found joy in a formerly lost thing is the simplest of simple. . . Dinner with friends at their home. Just four people. Steaks on the grill and a couple of good bottles of wine. A few hours of great conversation about life, business, grandbabies and petting their beautiful ancient dog.
It was a strange sensation to drive away from our friends’ home—warm, loved, fed—and realize that Sharon and I can’t recall a single time in 10 years we’ve been to someone’s home for dinner with “just the four of us.” That’s sad. But we also haven’t had just four at our home either.
It’s my fault this is a lost thing. We like parties. But we are busy. So we throw big ones. We have 10-12 people over for dinner. We run to restaurants with friends. We’ve geared it all up too big and too fancy.
But there was something elegant, spiritual, kind, warm, loving and JOYFUL about that “just the four of us” experience. It made me remember. It helped me find an old toy at the bottom of the toy box. I promise to treasure it more and not forget again.
Maybe, just maybe, we should all remember it is not good for man to be alone. I will start throwing more steaks on the grill and enjoying the simplicity of good times with good people. (I might invite myself to dinner at your house so be watching.)
And I’m going to recommit to being the friend who’s the first one there when bad times happen, when you’re being falsely accused, or even when you’ve screwed up. I have a shorter list now (clarity does that) so it will be easier to be there when my friends need me to be.
That lost toy at the bottom of the box is new again. This time it will sit on the shelf by my bed in a place of honor.