The contractors had been in the house for a week replacing French doors that opened to an outside seating area. When the bulk of the work was done, the only person remaining was the painter finishing the inside trim and other paint touch-ups around the house.
The owner of the home has gone through the same routine every day for years. She puts the jewelry into the safe or on the vanity tray on her bathroom counter every night. She didn’t put her jewelry on the next morning as she had a rescheduled water aerobics class. The painter was left alone. The three pieces were her everyday precious things: the Rolex President’s watch; a platinum gold diamond wedding band; an emerald with diamonds band.
And therein proceeded a week of filing an insurance claim, a police report, recriminations, emotional exhaustion of losing a family heirloom, retracing steps, and searching searching searching. No one got directly accused, but the burden of doubt hung in the air; a mistrust that would never fully evaporate despite the last resort of a possible lie detector test administered to all who had been in the house.
A week to the day the jewelry came up missing, the pieces were found. The owner had hidden them from herself almost in a dream, she said, out of character, but deliberately out of the bathroom where the painter would be.
There was a childhood ritual of singing a little nursery rhyme every time something came up missing ‘Holy toady, looking around. What is lost must be found.’ A Google search does little justice. Some song lyrics I came across have familiar words but aren’t exactly a match. I’ve concluded my mother made it up out of a mishmash. Even as I grew up, the jingle was sung out during the throes of a search. It always worked. It. always. worked. It danced across my mind recently when the group of women descended onto the house. They came with a collective will, an objective eye, and a fierce belief. The jewelry was found.
The whole episode made me think of prayer and its impenetrable concentration. Prayer does work for some. And rituals work for others, like magic. True magic isn’t a witchy shade of black -or with a wand -or by casting spells. Sometimes the solid, one-word answer of Yes or No is creating a bit of magic. Being intentional and being grateful creates a lot of everyday magic too. The reason prayer and magic are so similar is because they both involve a lot of faith.
I also ponder what happens when we stop searching -when we lose curiosity or adventure -when we lose faith. When we stop praying or trying to create a little bit of magic in our lives, we are stealing from ourselves.