Thank goodness, for goodness.

I was absentminded, and lost my wallet.

Though losing a wallet in and of itself is more of a pain in the butt than anything, I lost mine not even twenty-four hours after returning home from a study abroad trip.  My driver’s license, AAA travel card, student ID, and several souvenirs (not to mention a good amount of leftover euros) where in this wallet.  The wallet itself was important to me, as it was one my dad had bought for me when he was in Nicaragua several years ago for a missions trip.

But let me back up.  On May 26 2018, I boarded a plane for Perugia, Italy, where I would be studying at the Umbra Institute for the next five weeks.  On June 30, I arrived back in the States, quite happy I hadn’t lost anything while over there, and on the many adventures to other places in Italy.  While in Italy, I made it a point to have my wallet, phone, and apartment keys on my person at all times.  This was not my first trip to Europe, nor my first trip to Europe by myself, so I was fully aware of the possibility and danger of pickpockets and apartment thefts.  I was always aware of where my important items where.

This habit followed me home, and on July 1, when my boyfriend and I went kayaking, I had my phone and wallet securely in a dry box with me in the boat.  However, there are three minutes unaccounted for during which I waited for my boyfriend to come back with the pickup truck to load the kayaks.  It is in these three minutes that I know I had pulled my phone out of the plastic bag in which my wallet and phone were in, in the dry box, but I have no memory of where I put the plastic bag after I grabbed my phone.  It took us until we were packed up and down the road two minutes to notice my wallet was missing.  We drove back, dug through the water, the grass, the bushes, the weeds, the rocks, talked to the rental company on site, and my wallet was gone.

I was frustrated and angry, and I began to assume the worst of everyone else that was in and around the spot where I had been sitting.  I’m very thankful for my boyfriend who had the calmness of mind to help me take the necessary steps to protect my identity and cancel the travel card.  I was upset that the souvenirs in the wallet, and the wallet itself, were undoubtedly gone, and I was really annoyed at the process in front of me, to go about getting a new license and travel card.  Underneath all that, though I felt embarrassed to voice it, I was deeply disappointed in myself for being so absentminded.  Even beneath that, I was hesitant to pray about it, asking God to help me find it.  In my anger, frustration, and disappointment, I felt this situation was too big for God.  (Though, spoiler alert, God’s pretty cool in what He can do.)

As the next few days passed, I came to terms with the fact that I would probably never see the wallet again.  I was resigned to the fact that it was gone; it no longer was a big deal.  However, I was cautiously hopeful that it would be returned in the mail, understanding that it was probably unlikely.

On July 5, an envelope with no return address showed up at my house, addressed to me.  Hesitantly, I opened the envelope, and my driver’s license, travel card, and student ID fell to the counter.  Mixed in with them was a small note that read, “We found these; wanted to give them back” with a happy little smiley face at the bottom of the page.
To whoever found these, thank you.  Thank you. Thank you. My license and travel card are no longer valid, but my student ID from the school I attended in Perugia was my biggest souvenir in the wallet.  I know from the fact that these cards were returned by themselves, that my wallet and the money that was in it, is forever gone.  Someone with bad intentions picked my wallet, and separated my identification from the money, indicating that they knew what they were doing.

I am very thankful that someone found my items on the ground and returned them to me.  I wish the finder would have included a return address, as I so baldly want to be able to express my deepest thanks and gratitude, and give them a big, heart-felt hug.  From the writing on the envelope and the note, I believe children were involved in the process of returning my items.  The letters jump, the spacing is unstable, the lining is deliberate, and I love it all.  If children were truly involved, I want to celebrate their parents for instilling integrity, honesty, and goodness into their children, and I want to celebrate the kids for living these qualities.

When I noticed my wallet was gone, my gut reaction was to convict every person around me of being guilty.  I am beyond happy to be proven wrong, and to come face to face with the beautiful realization that there truly are good people in the world.
I was absentminded, lost my wallet, and felt deeply the consequences of those actions.

But to whoever found my ID’s and returned them, I am forever grateful for you.

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