Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Grace of a Lost Wallet

This evening as the cab driver pulled up in front of Dulles International Airport, I reached into my purse for my wallet... Oh, perhaps that introductory sentence had better be explained since the last time I posted here I was in Ohio. As Donnie and I wended our way back across the USA to California with Noelle and Doah, following my nephew's wedding this past weekend, I received a phone call from my boss.

"Where are you right now?" he asked.

I looked out the window. This was an easy question. "Somewhere in the middle of the Mohave Desert," I replied.

The next question was not as easy, but there was clearly only one right answer. "Can you attend a meeting in Washington, DC tomorrow morning? It is an urgent matter, and the CEO has asked for you to accompany him."

Hm. Let's see. I looked at the GPS. We were on a two-way road, meandering through the desert in the same way that desert plants spring up from seeds strewn by meandering breezes, i.e. without much direction except as the road took us. Almost 400 miles still to go. Hm. Projected arrival time: 7:30 p.m. I read the stats to my boss.

"Oh, that will be cutting it too close to catch a transcontinental flight."

"Ah, wait," Donnie chimed in. "That time is with dropping off both Noelle and Doah." They live in different cities from us.

Donnie punched in our home address. Up popped a pleasant time: 4:30. "Yes, I can do it," I told my boss, "if I take the red-eye from San Francisco." United Airlines has a wonderfully efficient 5-hour non-stop flight from San Francisco to Washington, DC, and since I can sleep easily on planes, I would not arrive too tired.

So, Donnie dropped me off at home, then went on to deliver Noelle and Doah to their homes. He returned right on schedule: 7:30. Then he drove me, newly washed and dressed in business attire, to San Francisco to catch my plane.

And that is why I was in the cab this evening, searching for my wallet. I wanted to give the cabbie cash and not put the tip on my business credit card. I searched, and I searched again. The wallet is large, not small. It could not hide. It was definitely gone, lost, but not likely purloined. I think I must have dropped/left it somewhere.

After entering the airport, I sat down and zipped off a note to one of the people who work in our Washington office, where the CEO and I had spent some time preparing for our "urgent" meeting downtown. Perhaps the wallet fell out there and was still on the floor. So, I await her response because clearly by the time I had made it to the airport, she had left for the day.

While I wait, all kinds of scenarios pop into my mind. Who might find the wallet, and what might he/she/they do with it? It contained sixty dollars. Fortunately, the money was withdrawn on a credit card -- yes, I will have to repay it, but at least it wasn't my grocery money for the week or a draw-down of my checking account, and my per diem will be more than that. It contained no credit cards; I keep my money and credit cards in separate places just because I am ditsy enough to lose one or the other periodically. It did have some stamps from by-gone years; none that would send a letter anywhere this year. It also had some of my business cards so anyone who finds it will know where to send it!

Now, it will be interesting to see if I get it back. With the money? Without the money?

One happy scenario has a kindly and honest person finding it and, seeing the business cards, dropping the wallet into the mail to me, money and all. Or, without the money.

Another happy scenario has an honest person calling me or writing me at the coordinates on my business card and letting me offer to pay for the mailing of the wallet and/or letting me offer an award.

Another scenario, sadly, has a person finding it, seeing the money, taking the money, and throwing the wallet away. Hm, what might that person do with the money? Give it to someone who needs it? Use it because he or she is desperate for money for his/her family and sees the wallet as an unrequested gift or a requested one. Use it out of sense of entitlement or with an internal commitment to return it when able (but not realistically likely ever to be able). Or, using it, and years from now, having not returned it, deciding that since the money cannot be returned, s/he could pass on the same amount to another person -- any person anywhere in need.

I really like to think that perhaps my lost wallet will help someone. (And, since giving up frustration for Lent last spring, I surprisingly -- or maybe not so surprisingly -- feel no frustration at losing the wallet; after all, at this point, I personally have no way to control the outcome.)

I know, though, that it is just as likely that it will be found by a reprobate, who will take the money without a twinge of conscience, and use it to buy booze or something else equally unsavory and unhealthy. Sigh! My first reaction is, "Well, s/he will get his or her comeuppance when everything is over and done with. God will make sure that this person gets punished for his/her dishonesty."

But wait, what if that person repents at some point for all his/her acts of dishonesty. Then, there is no punishment. The grace of God forgives completely -- even the expenditure of my money by someone else. So, I lose the money, and someone else gains it, unfairly, and ultimately, perhaps even sooner rather than later, is washed clean of any wrong doing by the grace of God!?? Now, is this fair? Am I supposed to like this scenario?

Oh, yes, I do like even this scenario. After all, I have needed the grace of God; still do. So, if the choice is between getting my money back and having someone receive the grace of God, is there really any need to think about a preference? Is there really any need even to ask that question?

Oh, I do believe in the grace of a lost wallet!

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