Mike walks every morning. He often picks up trash or coins he finds on the sidewalk or in the road. He tosses the trash in our container and fills an envelope with the coins to fund mission projects at church.
Sunday, October 19, Mike came home with a soaking wet prayer book filled with leaves, evergreen needles and mud.
An embroidered green cloth with side pockets on the inside covered the prayer book. A purple ribbon marked the place where the person was reading: Saturday, October 18.
Handling the book with reverence, I explored the items tucked between the pages hoping to find a name and phone number of the person who owned the book.
Inside I found two laminated prayer cards, a prayer to St. Michael, and two small pieces of tablet paper from "Princess Cruises". The person had written errands to places such as the driver's license bureau, the courthouse, Costco, Wal-Mart, JoAnn Fabric, Calico Corner. Each store's address was written after the name, so I wondered if she was new to the area. A pink and green crochet cross with a pink ribbon down the middle was in the back pocket.
"Give Us This Day - daily prayer for Today's Catholic, October 2014", was the book held by the beautiful cover.
Soaking the cloth cover and crochet cross in soapy warm water removed the dirt and grit. I set the book in a warm corner of the laundry room so the pages could dry.
Handling all of these pieces of someone else's prayer life made me want to find the owner. I wonder if the person put the book on the roof of her car and drove off perhaps in a hurry to get to church, forgetting to retrieve what was on top. Since Mike found the book early Sunday morning, I wondered if the owner was going to Saturday evening Mass.
Holding the crochet cross reminded me of a nearly identical one a dear friend made me, which I keep in my Bible and treasure.
What should I do with these holy tools of someone's prayer life? Was her prayer life interrupted because she lost her prayer book, prayer cards and crochet cross? I am sure she paused and felt disappointed when cherished pieces leading her to God were lost.
The prayer book is only for the month of October. I committed to pray for this person until the end of the month, using the prayers given for each day. Perhaps I can be a link between her and God using her materials.
My house is equidistant between two Catholic churches. Within the next week, I plan to take everything Mike found to each church hoping the owner called the office to report missing items.
All the contents reflect someone whose walk with God was meaningful and who came to God each day following the guide for prayer and scripture reading written for each day.
Although I hold her in prayer as her treasures rest on my desk, I feel certain her walk with God has remained solid. Perhaps she even purchased a new book cover, and a copy of "Give Us This Day" for November. Maybe she asked the person who crocheted the cross to make another one. Her faith and trust in God are aided by what Mike found and I cleaned, but not dependent on these items.
The person I'm holding in prayer knows God, God knows her. And as I glance at the cross and pray today's prayer, feel a if I know her a little bit too.