For years, a Catholic friend from childhood would recite, "Dear Saint Anthony, look around; something's lost that must be found." Over the years, I've invoked his name frequently to help me in my searches for items. I've learned a few things about this process. For one, you need to be specific after invoking that rhyme so that Saint Anthony knows what it is you have lost. And then you need to go back and look where you have looked before.
It may sound crazy. Superstitious. It may also sound faithful and helpful. Perhaps it is simply the matter of relaxing my mind about the lost item that allows me to see it upon the next search. Regardless of the psychology behind it that may apply, I find that Saint Anthony helps me.
Earlier this week, my father realized that a necklace my YiaYia had left for me was missing. A couple of days later he realized that the necklace with three diamonds my mother had been wearing was missing. We all spent time looking for these objects. These two missing items might seem minor, as my beautiful mother died on Monday after nearly three decades of battling breast cancer. It became a small obsession, trying to understand my mother's brain processes in her last weeks in order to find these two sentimental necklaces.
On Friday, a day after her funeral, I was again at my parents' house, and the topic of searching for these necklaces came up again. I asked my dad if he had asked Saint Anthony. He hadn't. I recited the invocation, specified the objects of which we were in search, and then said, "Now, we need to look where we've looked before." I went to one of the drawers my mom kept jewelry in and pulled out a plastic case with compartments that held "costume jewelry". In the very center compartment (of a case we had searched at least twice when I was there) were both necklaces.
In a week in which we are finding significance in the butterflies fluttering about us and attempting to know better the desires of my incredible Mommers who fought valiantly and gracefully to the end, I felt a small sense of accomplishment. Perhaps I understood my mom. Perhaps I had engaged in a "communion" with a Saint. Perhaps I was better learning how to let go and let God...Maybe I just found something we had all overlooked. Regardless, we all feel easier for our having found the missing items.