The band U2’s front man Bono belts out, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for ...”
It is a frustrating feeling to not be able to find a physical item for which you are looking. That key. That slip of paper with your password. That link to an article or blog. That spare button. The charging cord for your digital connection to the world. Your dog or cat.
Bono seems to be speaking of another search — the spiritual, the personal, the connectional. The search for meaning and encountering the transcendent is old and new.
Whether it is for a physical item, a digital user name or a metaphysical connection, it is frustrating to not find what you are looking for. What can be even more frustrating is the time or the dollars it takes to replace, restore or redo what you’ve misplaced.
The emotional interest might even be compounded when you know you left it sitting someplace and you know you should go ahead and deal with it. But a crying baby, a phone call, a knock at the door or a flat tire can redirect one’s attention. And if you live with someone else, they may have “assisted” you in the need for a search. “I know I left it right here ...” “Yes, and I moved it. But I can’t think where.” Now, the quest is even more complicated.
Yet, what a wonderful feeling it is to call off the search because what was lost is now found. The prophet Samuel finds shepherd boy David and there can be a new king. The shepherd finds the lost sheep. The woman finds her lost coin. Mary and Joseph find a lost son. Abigail finds David. Israel finds his son Joseph. The Bible is full of great stories of finding things.
Those of you in a certain age range may remember the bumper stickers from the Jesus Movement: “I Found It!” Which was countered by some other stickers, “I Never Lost It!” Reformed believers hold up that being found in Christ is a most precious gift.
Recently, through some interesting circumstances, I had to deal with desk drawers and file drawers. It was amazing the things I found. I don’t how many times I said, “I have been looking for this.” On more than one occasion, I said, “I had forgotten I had this.” Letters and sweet notes stuck in a commentary. A baptismal photo under page 8 of a legal pad. These were my discoveries.
In particular, the discovery of a picture often halts the cleaning process and creates a conundrum — what do I do with it? Put it on Facebook on Throwback Thursday? Mail it to the person in the photo? Write a note on it? Stick back in the Bible? Throw it away? And perhaps the worst — put it in a banker’s box to be dealt with later.
“Oh, look, here’s that key ring that beeps when you clap. I wondered where that had been.” Oh, the irony. A new product named Tile is a high-tech way to find what you are looking for. The little chip-embedded piece of plastic with a GPS component helps one find things. It is good to feel things are back in order, in place.
Like Tile, LoJack can help you locate what was taken. May God grant you peace and connection when someone has hijacked your well-being and may you return with a “I found it!”
If there were a physical something you wish you could locate, what would it be? And, if there were something that falls more under Bono’s realm, what might you like to find?
One cuff link, one earring, one soccer sock, all cause us to want parity, balance, symmetry and order to be restored.
What are you looking for? (Perhaps a group of people who don’t end sentences with prepositions?)
My prayer for you is that you find what you are looking for. And if someone needs to find you, that they do. And for those of you looking for peace and purpose and pardon, I pray especially that you find it.
Jarred Hammet is a Presbyterian minister living in Macon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.