Lost and Found Against All Odds - The Gift of a Miracle

We've all experienced the intense wave of relief that comes from waking deep in the night raw and vulnerable, after a horribly vivid nightmare. In the first few moments after waking, we remain suspended in a foggy dreamlike state somewhere between reality and fantasy before the frightening images begin to release their suffocating grasp and retreat to the darkest corners of our subconscious mind. Nightmares fade gradually like the night itself, leaving us breathless and clinging to the first few life affirming rays of early dawn. Dreams are symbolic representations of our deepest fears and repressed memories and wildest desires; those hidden parts of ourselves that we don't dare to explore in the light of day.

In the ominous shadow of a nightmare we are humble and pure - grateful for the smallest blessings that we normally take for granted. We regress to a childlike state as we cautiously scan our surroundings, taking comfort in the familiar sights and sounds that let us know it was, after all, just a bad dream. When the light of day returns and our defenses are restored, the final remnants of the dream melt away along with the deepest voices of soul. These are the voices awakened by dreams; the voices that bring us back to the true essence of who we are and remind us what really matters. They are the voices we forget to hear in the busy flow of our daily lives; the voices that remind us to be grateful for the simple things in life, like the rhythmic rise and fall of a loved one's breath and the familiar comforts of home.

At this time of Thanksgiving it feels appropriate to reflect on the concept of gratitude and the symbolic representations of those daily blessings we often take for granted. The roof over our head, the food on our table, the clothes on our back and the loved ones who walk beside us in life- all are symbolic of our good fortune and abundance. Even in the darkest hour, when financial hardship or disillusionment or agonizing grief threaten to consume the soul, we are surrounded by symbols of good fortune and safety and abundance. If we open our eyes we will always find the comfort we need, even in the most unlikely of places, like the kindness of a stranger or the warmth of a friend. When all else fails and we are truly lost at sea without a compass, we must surrender for a while, and trust that the universe will deliver an answer when the time is right.

Several months ago, I woke on a Saturday morning to find that my engagement ring and wedding band were missing. I turned my house upside down but the rings were nowhere to be found. I retraced my steps and re-visited every place I had been on the day the rings went missing. I filed a police report and prayed for a miracle. I replayed over and over in my mind, the final moments I was able to recall wearing the rings before they disappeared. I searched my car and dismantled the bathroom drain trap. My husband sorted through a week's worth of garbage. At the vet's recommendation, we even sifted through our dog's bowel movements for a week. And finally, when denial turned to anger and anger turned to sadness and sadness turned to acceptance, I surrendered and allowed myself to believe that the rings were indeed gone forever. With surrender came clarity, and I finally allowed myself to focus on what really matters- what the rings represent, rather than the rings themselves. The rings symbolize love and honor and commitment and the circle of life- those things we cannot measure in dollars and cents. These are the things that burn eternal long after we have gone. And then a funny thing happened. The universe delivered a miracle and the rings were returned to me, in the most unlikely of ways. Thanks to the honesty and integrity of a woman named Bonnie and the profound compassion of a woman named 

Gladys, the rings were delivered safely back into my hands. If Bonnie had not walked outside that day with her eyes and her heart wide open, and if Gladys had not taken the time to listen with compassion to another person's story of loss and despair, the rings would have been gone forever, leaving behind an empty space inside my heart.

Like most engagement rings and wedding bands, my rings represent a lifetime of promises and treasured memories; promises that are yet to be fulfilled and memories of those sun filled early days when our life together had just begun. Against all odds they were lost and found, an irony reflective of the endurance of our relationship and the many obstacles we have faced, and continue to face, together. Sometimes, when there is nothing left to do but surrender, the universe delivers a miracle and then, as if waking from a bad dream, we are given a second chance. I am thankful that I lost my rings because it was only in their absence that I was able to understand their true value in my life, and that is perhaps the greatest gift of all.

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