For the sake of His sorrowful Passion have mercy on us and on the whole world. My knees hurt. I have been on them for 30 minutes adoring the Blessed Sacrament. I jam my hands into my front pockets and make fists around the handfuls of pebbles I have stuffed into each.
What I am trying to do is ride out the last 45 minutes of waiting to see if the purse I’ve left in the movie theatre has been found by manager who will open at 2pm. Five hours ago I made the horrifying discovery that my purse, with my wallet in it, was nowhere to be found. Up-ending the beach house and car yielded nothing. When I retraced my steps I came to the conclusion that I left my purse in the theatre where I sat late last night, one of six people, watching a movie I didn’t even remember the title of.
“I don’t know, I don’t know …. can I please go in and look?” I begged the wary twenty-something boy who was wheeling the can out to the garbage bin outside of the Lincoln City Cinema 6. “Seriously, I won’t be a minute.” I’d been stalking him for an hour. Circling his thirty year old beater truck — tapping on the windows, trying to wake up the lazy creme colored pit-bull who slept in the front seat. Tap tap tap tap….. the dog moved her head slightly and opened one eye. “go the fuck away, dumb-ass” she seemed to be saying. I didn’t think the dog would know where my purse was, but, I hoped she would bark and the owner would come out and help me.
When he finally did emerge from the building, blinking in the light, I ran to him.
“Bummer.” he had said. “You’ll have to come back when we are open.”
“That’s five hours from now!” I pointed out.
I called my sponsor on my way back home to the house where I used to drink like a maniac when I was alone. If there is one thing I have learned in the last four and a half years, it’s to call Tanya when I’m getting all worked up over something. “Oh that sucks, JB.” she says. I agree. It’s horrible. We talk through it. I’m pissed. I had planned to drive down to Yachats today. Planned to get in my car and drive. And now, I am stuck. Stuck in my beautiful beach cottage on the beautiful bay with a stack of writing and reading that I have been meaning to get to for months while I have been working crazy hours for this start-up I am blessed to be part of.
“God is doing for you what you cannot do for yourself”, Tanya tells me. ” There is something you are supposed to do with this.” I sigh, tell her she’s right and hang up the phone.
So what do I do? I scrape ten dollars in change out of my car, walk across the street to the place that used to be the bar where I drank until I fell off the bar stool, and I order breakfast. While I eat, I read some amazing pages written by people in my writing class, send five or six emails to friends, and outline my next story. The server is hovering and people are stacked up in the waiting area eyeing my table so I pay the check and leave. That killed about an hour.
Then I went for a walk on the bay. And I think about money and possessions as I watch the birds catching the thermals — soaring above the Siletz River. I walked as far as I could before I saw a sign. “Rocks belong to owner. Keep off.” That stopped me short and it made me laugh. Yeah. I keep my rocks pretty close myself. Sometimes even rocks are hard to let go of. I thought that yesterday when I was cleaning out some things. Putting together a bag of stuff to donate. Over the years I have collected quite a pile of interesting stones I’ve found on the beach — agates, jasper, and quartz amongst them, but still … they are gathering dust in my living room. When I got back from my walk, I gathered all those rocks up — picked out all the agates and put them in my pockets. The rest I put in a ziploc bag and took out to my car.
So I end up in noon Mass. And then on my knees after for the Friday Eucharistic Adoration with the old ladies who pin lace doilies to their heads. Suffering my knees for Jesus and my vintage Fossil shoulder bag.
Praying over — Purified, now, I arrive at the movie theater at 2pm pretty convinced that my story would have a happy ending. Jesus is totally going to answer my prayers. Certainly, my purse will be waiting for me. I imagine how I will gracefully and graciously take the seventy or eighty dollars out of my wallet and give it as a reward to the benevolent people who have shepherded it back into my hands.
“We don’t have it.” She says. I blink in disbelief. “Seriously?” She shakes her head.
All in all it took me twenty minutes to cancel the credit cards — and then an hour to drive to Newport to get a temporary ATM card from the bank, a new wallet and a cute purse to put it in. My new wallet and purse are refreshingly light.
I only mourn the loss of a picture of Bo — the passport photo we had taken a few weeks before he died. I never got around to sending that out. I’ve been carrying that photo in my wallet for nine and a half years.
I think it was time for me to let it go.
Last night while I talked to my pal on the phone, sitting on a bench on a cliff over the great Pacific Ocean — I watched a whale feed and spout and breech in the deep deep blue water. As we continued our common prayer –sharing our lives’ meaningful moments, suffering and struggles, triumphs and joy — as we celebrated the communion of friendship — I took the ziploc bag and dumped my rocks over the edge of the cliff — and then I took the agates out of my pockets and one by one threw them into the sea.