How many times have you lost your keys? Hopefully around the same number of times you’ve found them.

Of course, there are many things we lose and can never find again. Or we find things we were never looking for in the first place.

Our deepest losses are of loved ones. As are our most precious finds. 

Our relationship to the ideas of what is lost and found tends to be somewhat transactional. We think of each mostly in their aftermath. Perhaps hoping to forget loss as quickly as possible and seldom appreciating what we find long enough. 

The ideas of lost and found are often seen as opposites and mutually exclusive.

One of the most popular hymns of all time, Amazing Grace, has in its chorus the famous line “I once was lost  but now am found.”  As if their relationship is always neat and sequential, when more often they are messy and intertwined.

Our daily lives are filled with lost and found – ranging from the trivial (the aforementioned keys) to the life altering (love).  Not all of what is lost and found is tangible.  We lose faith, find joy.  We lose confidence, we find meaning. 

As I’m typing this, I’m looking at the water of the Hudson River, which is actually an estuary,  Meaning the water at times will flow both north and south at the same time.  Lost and found flowing at once.

A woman with her young child, who looks to be about two or three, just came and sat beside me.  As she frames what she hopes is the perfect picture of him with the sun reflecting off the water in the background, he bends and picks something up.  With delight she asks him, “Honey, what have you found?”  Looking closer, she realizes what he is holding in his hands and yells, “George that’s goose poop.  Drop it.”  He loses the poop, I have found a funny story.

Recently, I found the book, Lost & Found.  by Kathryn Schulz, while browsing in a local bookstore.  I lost myself while reading its pages full of wonder and beauty.  She contemplates these ideas through the loss of her father and the finding of her partner – all happening around the same time in her life. Their connection is unmistakable. The “&” in the title is operative.

I hope that I will see what I have lost and found in life with the same profundity with which Schulz writes. Her perspective is wise and healthy.  Rather than run from loss, she embraces it.  She notes on the book’s final pages, a photo that has been beside her during much of the writing of the book.  It is from her wedding day. In the photo is her partner and her mother. There is a hole where her father should be. His absence is an affirmation of life, a reminder to enjoy what we have found before we lose it.  Because after all, it is an immutable fact of life that eventually we will lose everything.

As sobering as that may sound, it is also a needed wake up call to be present and appreciate what we lose and find each day. 

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