We waved to my youngest son and he came running over to the car. As he got closer, I noticed a troubled look on his face. He’s usually all smiles. On this day, there was something else. He had a look of fear, like he was worried, but didn’t want us to know.
He opened the car door and instead of getting in he started rifling through his backpack to find his phone. When he couldn’t find it, he told us he was running back to the parking lot where he had been practicing with other members of his school’s marching band. The look on his face though gave me little assurance that he was going to be successful. He had that pained look of agony and anger that you get when you’ve lost something and have no idea where it might be. I felt trouble brewing and immediately asked my daughter to go help him.
When they didn’t come back right away, my wife and I went to investigate. Of course, our son while practicing had put down his phone. I feared the worst: He had lost the phone or had it pilfered when he wasn’t paying attention and would never see it again.
To say his phone is ancient is an understatement. Last summer I had given him my old phone when I had gotten a new one. Earlier in the spring, I had asked him to “live” with the phone until later in the Fall and we would talk about getting a new one. Despite all that, I was still annoyed that he had lost the phone and that it would cost us a small fortune to replace it.
Going back in time
I instantly missed the days of yore when the worst thing that a teenager could misplace was at best, a prized t-shirt lost somewhere in between the bedroom and laundry room or at worst, a wallet and drivers license. With cellphones now costing hundreds of collars, it’s certainly a big deal to lose one.
We looked and looked everywhere on the ground where my son had been. We each took turns trying to help him retrace his steps, but we all came up empty. Finally, I decided to call it a night. Our evening which had started so happily and carefree, was now ending on a sour note. I suggested that we get in the car and head home.
Throwing a Hail Mary
My wife with one last minute desperation attempt used the “Find iPhone” app to ping the missing phone. If this had been a football game, it would have been former quarterback Peyton Manning, the career leader for game-winning drives, rallying his teammates in the final minute and throwing up one last Hail Mary pass to the end zone.
My son had thought his phone had died so we weren’t holding out much hope that the app would work. My wife and daughter though heard it first: a faint beep in the distance.
And with that, my son’s evening was saved.
Football to Saints
When Saint Anthony of Padua lost a book of Psalms that was important to him in the 13th century, he prayed it would be returned. The thief was moved to restore the book to Anthony and return to the Order. Saint Anthony would go onto become the patron saint of lost things and the stolen book is preserved in the Franciscan friary in Bologna.
I’m no Saint. I have way too many faults, but I have been turning lately more and more to Saint Anthony to pray for my family. As my luck would have it, two days later, my oldest son lost his wallet with his college ID and credit cards. His whole life was in the wallet. Once again I turned to Saint Anthony for help.
God help me!
Saint Anthony must have heard me. God most certainly did, because once again miracle of miracles my oldest son found his wallet. He had put his wallet on his desk and it got covered by a bunch of text books. In a matter of seconds, he went from feeling lost and confused, to being so relieved that he admitted that he had been worried about the wallet for several hours before calling to tell us.
We all lose things, but it’s definitely harder on me when it’s my kids. I can’t magically take over and make everything normal again. I have to turn to Saint Anthony to pray for them. Maybe that’s the lesson for them too: Let God take over.
In the meantime, I’m trying to slow down more so I don’t lose things. I’m also including Saint Anthony in my daily prayer requests. I figure better safe than sorry.