Have you ever combed through your belongings in search of something only to have another find it in under 30 seconds? Searching for lost items can be a very frustrating process.
This winter, I unfortunately lost a mitten that I had bought just a few months earlier in Iceland. The Icelanders understand cold and make high-quality winter gear. My wool mittens were no exception and quickly became my trusty winter accessory. In fact, when I discovered that I had lost one mitten, I decided that it would be worth it to continue to wear the lone mitten with another one rather than forgo wearing the remaining Icelandic mitten altogether. So, I was mismatched for a few weeks with one black and one blue mitten. I would have continued on in this way but was very fortunate and surprised to receive a very nice pair of mittens over Christmas from a loved one. With a new pair of mittens, I retired my Icelandic one prematurely and relegated it to a box with other miscellaneous parts. All hope was lost, or so I thought….
This morning on my walk I did a double take. You know how sometimes people leave lost articles of clothing on fences, benches, or even fire hydrants for their owners to find? Well, I literally stopped in my tracks this morning when I saw a familiar black Icelandic mitten propped up on a fence in a park in Cambridge. I really could not believe it. The mitten had been MIA for well over a month now. However, there it was! Perched as if it had been waiting and eagerly trying to get my attention.
This little moment brought me so much joy. So often when I see lost items on the street, I wonder, “how in the world could someone forget that!?” To me, it never really made sense to see a hat on the ground in the freezing cold or a forlorn umbrella on the floor of a coffee shop in the pouring rain. However, now that I have my own experience with recovering a lost item, I have a better understanding of how these things can happen.
I think I can piece together how I lost my mitten in the first place. Often, on my walks I listen to music, audiobooks, or podcasts from my phone. While I’m not big into texting and walking, for something urgent or particularly interesting I will make an exception. In these instances, the gloves literally come off and I rapidly tap my thumbs to the phone screen. I imagine that I must have removed my mitten to type something and failed to successfully shove it into my purse. I then probably continued my walk with my thumb bouncing off my phone until I reached the café that I was headed to. Naturally, I take off my mittens at the café to better handle my daily exchange of a few dollars for a superb cup of muesli (more on that here). I was so certain, in fact, that I had removed my mitten at the café that I visited it again the following day to inquire about the lost item.
Although I now have a new pair of mittens, reuniting with the lost one still feels so good. It is like a tragic love story, where one mitten was left behind and dedicated its life to desperately try to send signals to its other half. Well, the signals worked, and my hands couldn’t be happier.
I was very lucky. I am also very thankful to the kind soul out there who took 30 seconds out of his/her day to prop my lonely, little mitten up on that fence. I don’t know who you are but thank you. This event is a little reminder to me that tiny gestures can have disproportionately large impacts. It literally costs me nothing to show a little kindness and consideration for others. If I can bring some joy into someone’s day in this way, I will always choose to do so. So, lets pick up the hats, gloves, and little toys and see how much happiness we can bring into the world.