How wonderful it would be if there was a place where everything in the world that has ever been lost eventually ended up. We could go there and retrieve that missing ring or the pet that strayed away from home. This is the theme of a recently published children's book. n1 But is the ability to find what's lost confined to fiction?
n1 Mark Strand, The Planet of Lost Things, illus. William Pene Du Bois (New York: Clarkson N. Potter, n.d.).
Many people have proved that finding things begins with thought that turns to God for direction. Starting from the premise that God is all-knowing Mind, they have proved that we do have the ability to express that Mind and to know all that we need to know for our harmony. The Bible advises: ''Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.'' n2 Putting this into practice, acknowledging God's perfect government and constant provision of good, we'll be rightly directed.
n2 Proverbs 3:5, 6.
One evening I found myself walking a deserted pebble beach on a beautiful island. That afternoon my stepfather had bought me a brooch in the form of a jeweled donkey. We had returned from the town and walked along the waterline before I discovered the brooch was no longer pinned to my jacket. The whole family fanned out along the beach and searched for the little donkey, but it seemed a hopeless task.
We had leaned all we could on our ''own understanding.'' Now, alone, I prayed to God for direction. Relations between my stepfather and me were often tenuous, and so it was vitally important to find that brooch, especially since it was his first gift to me. I knew that Mind, God, directs each of His children through His infinite wisdom and knowledge and that each one of us can listen to and find that direction. I understood also that God's man is complete, lacking nothing.
The good that God gives is spiritual and enduring, not material and fleeting, and man is inseparable from that good. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, tells us, ''Wholly apart from this mortal dream, this illusion and delusion of sense, Christian Science comes to reveal man as God's image, His idea, coexistent with Him - God giving all and man having all that God gives.'' n3
n3 The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and miscellany, p. 5.
As I walked, I prayed for direction. I knew that the love that prompted my stepfather's gift could never be turned into regret or anger. Gradually my fear of human reaction turned into the peace that comes from trusting God. At this point I saw something sparkling among the pebbles. It was the brooch, none the worse for its absence.
More serious than missing articles is the challenge that comes with the loss of a job, loss of a home, or the passing of a beloved relative or friend. Such a loss often appears irretrievable. In such a case it is helpful to understand that man, the idea of God, can never be less than complete. In reality, he has all the qualities - the activity, the harmony and affection - that God is pouring forth to all His children. God's love and care provide for every need. And because God is the source of satisfying activity, love, peace, these qualities are permanently included in man's being. This understanding replaces the fear that we can lack any of these things - and awakens us to their actual presence.
We need not travel to a ''planet of lost things'' to be reunited with what we have lost. Our heavenly Father lovingly guides us to find what has always been ours and can never be taken from us. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Shrew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. . . All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies. Psalms 25:4, 5, 10