I got an email yesterday from our local library, informing me that Ruby’s library books would soon be due. Great! She found two of them last night. One, however, remained outstanding.
She loved the silly pictures of shoes walking themselves, cats in strollers, fish casting for humans in a pond. She even made her own version, complete with drawings.
I looked on Ruby’s downstairs bookshelves for the absent tome . I remebered it was a yellow book. I pulled the books out. Goodnight Moon, princess stories, Fancy Nancy…A yellow book! But no. I saw bare toes. The people were all wearing robes and sandals. It was a Bible story.
I tromped up to Ruby’s pink haven. Still fairly clean from her obligatory Saturday pick-up, I did a visual search. I didn’t see any books on the floor or behind her desk or dresser. I moved to the bed and shuffled blankets around. I reached under her stuffed animals and pillows. I found a ton of pens. I even found an eraser for a white board. No book.
Sighing, I knew what came next. By this time, Ruby was shadowing me.
“Maybe it’s under my bed?” she suggested.
Yep. Very possible. Time to move the behemoth. I elected not to spit on my hands ala Popeye. I heaved the bed away from the wall a few inches. Peeking along the wall, I found a book Ruby started to write. It was all about kittens. Nice, but no. I found a clutch of papers. Most notable among them was a self-portrait. Still no Dr. Seuss stray.
I stockpiled the other books in the front passenger seat and hoped for better things. I got Ruby off to school.
“Could the book be in your dad’s car?” I asked Ruby. She shrugged. She kissed me goodbye, leaving me behind to ponder missing books.
I searched downstairs again. I lifted couch cushions. Zac got involved.
“I’m gonna laugh if I find it on this bookshelf,” he said, searching the notorious bookshelves yet again.
Still no sign of the lost one.
I thought of Jesus’ parables of lost things. The lost coin, the lost sheep, the lost son. All are in Luke 15.
“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.’ – Luke 15:8-9
Each story has a sense of desperation. The one experiencing the loss of what once was theirs puts everything on hold to find it, or in the case of the lost son, to wait for him to return. In my case, since books don’t have legs, I realized I needed to commit myself to finding the darn thing. I prayed for help. I rolled up my sleeves. I checked behind Ruby’s bed one last time. There it was!
Ruby’s concern was that the replacement cost of the book would be $50,000. I chuckled and told her it wouldn’t be that much. But I didn’t know how much it would be. I realize the parables of Luke 15 are in the context of searching out the lost to tell them about Jesus and his great love. However, I also think Jesus cares about little things like lost library books, too. I’m living proof.