Lessons from a Lost Wallet.
I woke up Saturday morning not expecting it to be a day where I wish life had a rewind-restart-Lord,-let-there-never-be-a-day-like-this button.
Oh, yeah. So this happened a couple months ago. I wrote this a couple months ago. Procrastination at it's finest. Okay, continue....
After our peaceful and (surprisingly) conflict free grocery making list, I walked into my room to get my stuff so we can make the trip to the grocery store. I looked in my purse and my wallet wasn’t in there. I looked in another bag and my wallet wasn’t in there. My wallet, which on this occasion so happened to carry ALL my cards. I looked in every place that my wallet wouldn’t be and (you guessed it) my wallet wasn’t there. My wallet, that has our grocery money, my ID, my credit card, my bus card, my…oh, no.
“Kira, I’m not going to start freaking out. Would you come help me look for my wallet because I can’t find it?” Kira and I begin looking for my wallet and we can’t find it. I’m not going to panic… Heather joins the epic search party and helps me retrace my steps from the night before. I’m not going to panic. No wallet.
(Side note 1: As we’re searching my room, Kira finds a herd of ants who have invaded my room once again. Side note 2: I’ve learned that when I begin to reassure myself that I am not going to panic, that’s the first sign of being in the midst of panic.)
I keep repeating, “I’m not going to panic; I’m not going to panic; I’m okay….” Immediately, I know that the only place my wallet could be is in the hands of someone else on the bus from the night before. Therefore, I panic and it involves tears. Between every phone call, every “oh, that sucks” from customer service representatives, and every “please hold”, I begin to see this panic grow into fear and I continue to cry.
I needed to allow myself to feel these emotions in order for this losing my wallet thing to be a lesson in discovering what was happening. The most significant thing in this moment of panic was when I called Kate and she asked me, “What are the fears that come up for you in this situation?” Holding on to this question, I began to navigate through this day and discovered more about myself, my community, and God’s presence in moments like these.
If it wasn’t for my community, this story will all be a sad story about a lost wallet that went to wallet heaven (besides the fact that this had all my stuff, I really liked the wallet itself). The wallet is now back in my purse and replaced with new cards (bless the person who returned my wallet…actually, they blessed themselves with my bus card and some of my stipend money…). Now that this dramatic day is behind me, I am able to look back and see something a little deeper than this particular Saturday being just a crappy day I don’t want to remember.
I continued to wrestle through entitlement and self-pity throughout the day. I began to gently hear these questions from deep within me rise up: In this moment, how can you be generous towards your team? How can you best love and care for those around you? I couldn’t ignore these questions, so throughout the day I chose to pay attention to others instead of myself.
Even though it was difficult to do, I found a beautiful opportunity to love my housemate in a way that was also life giving for myself. I have learned these past two years that a sign of a generous person is the willingness to serve others with joy and having a great inward attitude when what is needed from others isn’t the most convenient for us. Generosity is an opportunity to yell “I LOVE YOU and CARE FOR YOU because YOU CARE FOR ME, TOO” with my actions.
I’d say up to this point, I’ve chosen to be “generous” when it has been the most convenient for me. This was a HUGE gift from God for me to receive that day…and still things continued to stay consistently the same rollercoaster of good and bad throughout the rest of the day! (Side Note 3: I believe my last words to some of my housemates before going to bed were a frustrated, “I just need this day to be over.” So sometimes, even with Jesus we just have THOSE days.)
Lessons in How to Cultivate Thankfulness
After the rain, Charlie and I walked over to our sweet neighbor’s house to walk her over for community dinner. Our neighbor, Celeste is 80 something; lives with her dog, Doggy Dog; and calls Tarrin her daughter. This past year, Tarrin has not only befriended and loved Celeste in the most beautiful way, but has continued to fight alongside Celeste for opportunities and services she needs to sustain daily life. Tarrin’s care for Celeste has opened opportunities for the rest of us to get to know and love Celeste throughout this year as well.
Walking Celeste back to our apartment, I realized the beauty in slowing down and savoring the moment. It took Charlie and me 10 minutes to get Celeste’s house. With Celeste it took double that time to get back to our place for dinner. When we walked slower, we allowed for intentional conversations and laughter to be shared. My lost wallet drama fades in comparison to this slow and rich moment walking Celeste back to our house. It brought me back to see the bigger picture of what God has been doing in our intentional community of 6 and the impact and transformation that our relationships with our neighbors (no matter how deep) have been changing us to be more generous with our love, time, compassion, gentleness…and so forth. I also recognize the gift and truth I found specifically from living with Tarrin, Heather, Charlie, Kira, and Taylor. When I allow myself to be cared for when I’m hurting or in need of help, I’m allowing others to pour love into me so that I may be able to continue to give.
Through it all, I have learned the beauty of transparent relationships – especially when things are messy.