Answered prayer in the bag

I was working at my computer when my wife came frantically into the room.

“I’ve lost my wedding rings.”

Her voice was almost breaking as she hurried to her dressing area where she keeps her jewelry box to search for her missing rings.

I was in college with severely limited funds when I purchased those rings more than 57 years ago. The engagement ring was not a large expensive diamond, and the wedding ring was only a plain band.

Frequently, during the subsequent more prosperous years, I have suggested we purchase more expensive rings. Maurine’s response has always been a strong negative. She has a tremendous emotional attachment to the rings she has worn for more than half a century.

I immediately joined her search and began asking all those useless questions people always seem to ask when something has been lost: When was the last time you remember having them? Where all have you looked? Etc., etc.

We had been preparing for the big garage sale held annually at Broadmoor United Methodist Church (this year it’s on March 22). Our garage had become a collecting point for boxes and bags full of “stuff” from our neighbors.

Maurine had been sorting through the boxes to get like items more or less together. Perhaps the rings had slipped off as she pulled items from the boxes and bags.

I started systematically emptying one box at a time then refilling it and moving it aside. After a few hours, it seemed we had been through everything.

Maurine was softly sobbing.

“They’re gone. I’ve worn those rings for 57 years, and now they’re gone. I’ll never see them again.”

There are some things that a husband just can’t fix no matter how hard he tries.

I hugged Maurine and silently whispered a brief prayer to the One who never loses track of anything. “Please let us find the rings,” I prayed.

One very large, heavy black plastic bag containing some kind of bulky air mattress or blow-up boat remained. I had already opened the bag and looked in it briefly. Maurine said she had earlier tried to pull out the item, but had left it because it was too bulky, heavy and sticky.

In final desperation, we opened that bag again.

Looking in, Maurine thought she saw a shiny grommet she hadn’t seen before. That “grommet” turned out to be her missing rings.

Now, I can’t be certain how those rings got there, since I didn’t see them the first time I looked into that bag, and yet they were easily visible when Maurine looked in again.

Perhaps the One who keeps track of the hairs on our heads and knows when each sparrow falls, heard and answered the prayer of a desperate husband.

So, I wonder what surprising things may happen at this year’s big garage sale. See you there!

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