LOST in the Closet

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Our youngest is a senior at a very nice state college an hour or two north of here. Freshman year he set off with an entire car load of stuff that freshman typically set off with including a nice winter jacket. Now admittedly he was never the winter jacket sort of child once past the age of 10. But we’re his parents and he is going away and gosh darn, it’s cold out there in the world. Boy may not need the coat but parent do.

This kid has a history of losing clothing that goes back to diapers. So of course he loses this coat and I am not sure he didn’t lose it on the way up. Or considering the state of his dorm dump room when visiting a time or two that first year it really could have been there all along. Honest to god when I saw those first pictures of Port au Prince my initial reaction was that someone had lifted a photo or two from his Facebook account. It would have been an easy mistake to have made. But that first winter came and so did another, “I can’t find my coat”.

It’s now three years later and everyone is enjoying the holidays, some more than others and some others are really looking forward to that return to school. The gathering process always lasts a day or two because his parents are involved. Left to his own resources the gathering process would take all of seven minutes with things accomplished as he woke and headed out the door back to school. I am not sure the results would vary in any overwhelming way but I tell him they most certainly would for I have age and wisdom along with my position of authority and I must justify it. He is gracious in his feigned acceptance.

During the gathering process his mother went to grab an unrelated item from the elf closet and guess what? There it is; the coat. Three years later and there it is hanging up; IN THE CLOSET. Not the main closet, mind you, but a closet nonetheless. This is a kid who has never hung up anything much less a coat. There is some faint recollection of a bath towel in early 1994 but that might have been hung by his brother. I know for sure that between the two of them it was the only thing that was ever hung so I am not sure who gets credit.

So why did we not go to where it should have been even though it had never been before? It wasn’t a conscious act. We did not say to one another (or to our own self), “Let’s not look in the closet because I know it won’t be in there”. We just didn’t look. When does the common universal practice (coats get hung in closets) become novel and how do we recognize this when looking for things lost? I don’t limit this to the tangible things like coats and keys and wallets and similar worldly things but other things too like momentum and patience.

Why do we lose things anyway, like momentum? Distractions, chemical imbalances and synaptic prioritizing I imagine. How do we stay found in the present and how can we keep from losing our ‘coats’ when we do not always need our coats. Oh sure some people always follow all of the rules. Coats are always hung in THAT closet – buttons facing left. These people should live alone. Others of us usually hang it in the same place, or close enough, unless we don’t at that moment, for whatever reason usually innocent enough.

So what do we do when we hang our momentum as in summer with our coats having no need for the extra energy? Time goes carried by the tide of the previous momentous force. And then we slow. We need to find that momentum but, hmm where did I put it? We look in all of the usual places. We don’t look where it should be. How does one bring balance to where ‘it should be’ and where ‘it never has been’?

If we follow the lost coat example then is it purely by accident? Meh, that’s a trippy and slightly sorrowful philosophy. That can’t be right. Some people insert the god thing here saying something like, “god led you to it”, or it was the “spirit of the almighty”. No it wasn’t. Don’t be stupid. If that level of detail exists, where He cares that much about a coat, then I know for a fact heaven is going to be terribly overbuilt. I for one am NOT looking forward to that. Have you ever been to a party where the hostess borders on OCD psychoticdom replacing cocktail napkins at the first hint of condensation and nut mix as you chew? Accompanied by that screechy little voice asking constantly if all is well? If He cares about that coat then that’s what you’re looking forward to. For all eternity . Not just a part of it . . .

So where to go to find that momentum? After looking in all of the usual places and not the place that it should be we need to answer the question of ‘should be’. If your personal life philosophy is one of universal truth or the classic child’s Matching Game then coats go with closets and momentum goes with love.

So find something or someone you love and put your coat on.

Jim

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