Monday, April 27, 2015

The Lord of the Rings Will Not Disappear

I lost my engagement/wedding rings last week.  Everyone kept asking how I managed to do that. It was pretty easy, actually.  You see, when the weather is nice, I spend an hour or more outside supervising kids on the playground at school after their nap/rest.  The day it happened, I was out on the playground at the house with three other teachers and 30+ kids running around. 

Someone fell and scraped off the scab on his elbow.  He came up to me asking for a Band-Aid.  I took him inside to do First Aid.  As per best practices (and DSS regulations), I removed my rings, washed my hands, and put gloves on before I got him cleaned up.  That time I put my rings in my pants pocket.  After sending the young man back outside, I removed my gloves, washed my hands again, and put my rings back on.

Within 15 minutes, a girl came up to me who had a splinter in her hand.  I took her inside and repeated the removal of rings, hand washing, and put on gloves before administering First Aid.  That time I put my rings on the kitchen counter by the sink. 

Oftentimes, I’m able to get splinters out without having to use tweezers, but this wasn’t one of those days.  I was rushing because the teachers were already having kids line up to go across the parking lot for carpool.  After tending to the most recent boo-boo, I quickly cleaned up, removed my gloves in the prescribed manner, and stuck my rings in my pants pocket. I ran out the door to begin the portion of my day I spend with elementary school students. 

It wasn’t until around 5pm when we were crossing the parking lot to go back over to the house that I realized that I didn’t have my rings on or in my pocket.  I figured they must have fallen out somewhere.  The top pockets in my black cargo pants aren’t that deep.  I retraced my steps that afternoon once my shift ended.  I went back to the main building, searched around the library and tech lab where I supervise the students who are in what we call the Hub after school. No luck. 

I checked outside around the plaza and walked through The Wishing Woods to North Campus, staring carefully at the winding gravel and sand path, then I checked the hallway and classrooms where I had been in that building.  I returned to the library and checked on top of, under, and around chairs, tables, the floor, and desk near where I had been sitting.  No bling. 

I stopped at the front desk to see if anything had been turned in, but my rings weren’t there.  I returned to the house and checked the kitchen another time.  I asked my supervisor and co-workers if any of them had seen it around the house.  No one had. 

That evening, my supervisor sent out an e-mail to all staff and faculty to keep an eye out for my rings.  Once I’d given up the hunt for the day and headed home, she and a co-worker went so far as to empty the trash cans in the kitchen, downstairs, and in the library to make sure they hadn’t fallen in there.  They were worried that if they had ended up in the circular file, they'd be gone forever once the cleaning crew came through that evening to vacuum and empty all the trash cans.  That thought hadn’t even occurred to me. I was fairly certain they had fallen out of my pocket while I was walking around.  I was and am tremendously grateful for their help and concern.

For some reason, I felt certain my rings would be found.  I was upset that I couldn’t find them, but I had a sense that they’d turn up eventually, so I didn’t panic.  I prayed to St. Anthony to help me find them. 

The next day, I subbed in a primary classroom, so I was at school from 8am-5:30pm.  I would likely know right away if/when my rings were found.  Several teachers asked me how I had lost my rings, why I had taken them off, and where I thought they might be.  I explained I had to put gloves on to do First Aid, and I had to remove my rings because the engagement ring could tear the gloves.  Everyone expressed their concern and said they’d definitely be looking for my rings. 

Someone called my name as I was headed over to the house to eat my lunch after my morning shift ended and before my afternoon ones began.  A primary teacher ran towards me with a big smile on her face.  She’d found my rings!!  I was so incredibly relieved.  Where had they been?  In the library, near the chair where she’d seen me sitting the day before. 

It took me a little while to process the significance of what had just happened.  I'd checked around the library more than once.  A co-worker had gone back over after I left to search that same area. She had been so thorough in her search that she’d even gone through the trashcan.  The cleaning people had come and vacuumed that evening.  Several people were in and out of the library that morning, but it was a co-worker spotted them and brought them to me.  I thanked her profusely and praised God.  He was certainly involved if that many people combed the area and couldn’t find it and the cleaning people had come through and had also missed it.

In the end, God is Lord of the Rings, our marriage, friendship, faith, and peace of mind.  
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