As we were leaving the school playground Monday afternoon, Maxon noticed some dark fabric poking out of the snow. He bent down and picked up an Anakin Skywalker Lego figure. It was his younger brother's Anakin Skywalker, the one lost at school last Thursday. While Ezra shed mournful tears as we pulled out of the school parking lot after a fruitless search, poor Anakin lay face down in a snow pile at the edge of the playground. Fresh snow covered him over the weekend, leaving him buried and alone, without a lightsaber, until Monday's warmer weather melted the snow and exposed his cape.
Certainly, the odds were against us finding it – any one of the hundreds of students could have found it first. You could call it luck, or serendipity.
But I am thanking St. Anthony.
I don't know much about the Catholic saints. But I believe in St. Anthony, the patron saint of lost things.
When I was 30, I went to a hair salon to do one of those test runs for wedding hair. I brought my veil and the diamond and pearl earrings that I planned to wear on my wedding day. I left the salon looking fantastic, but when I got home I realized I was missing an earring.
I called the salon and asked if anyone had swept it up. When they said no one had found it, I broke down in a dramatic fashion. The woman on the other end of the phone helped calm me down and taught me the St. Anthony prayer.
"Visualize the earring," she told me, "and say this three times: St. Anthony, St. Anthony, please come around. Something is lost and cannot be found."
Saying the prayer made me feel better, but I didn't hold out hope that I would find the earring. Surely it was buried in some pile of hair and dust bunnies at the bottom of a Hefty bag. I was going to have to break the news to my stepmother and feel the shonda of losing precious jewelry.
Before I got a chance to tell her, however, I opened the inside pocket of my handbag and found the earring. I stared at it, dumbfounded. How had it managed to fall out of my ear and into this tiny slice of a pocket? What were the odds? It was mysterious and befuddling and shehekiyanu worthy.
I thanked St. Anthony, and from that day on, I believed. I have called on him multiple times since then, and have had a 100 percent success rate. I taught my girlfriend the prayer when she went mad looking for her lost engagement and wedding rings. She found them soon after – in a place she had already looked twice. She's a believer now too.
Our boys now recite the prayer on their own when their things go missing. Losing one Anakin brought unrest to our house over the weekend, and having him back restored some Shalom Bayit. I feel certain there is a helpful spirit in the universe who wants to guide believers to where the lost things go. I am thankful that he doesn’t care that I'm Jewish.