09 December 2013

Rejoice with me

She called her neighbors and said, “Rejoice with me, for what was lost has been found!”
(a parable from Jesus, in the Gospels)

As I wrote my thesis I had enormous stacks of books from multiple libraries, piled, spread, tucked, and scattered around my study. At the end of summer, some of these had been renewed over and over for months. Thinking I was “mostly done,”and feeling guilty that someone else might want access to some of them, I returned most of the stack to Wheaton’s Buswell Library. A few short weeks later, about a month into the fall semester, I checked a few of them out again, whilst checking references and following up some lingering questions.

Some time later I needed to check something in Christoph Wolff’s The World of the Bach Cantatas. But for some reason I could not lay my hand on it. A week later, following some serious searching and pawing through and re-organizing, I still could not find it. I began to feel alarmed. I conducted several searches through both vehicles, I went through all the bags in the house. I went to coffee shops to see if I had left it behind somewhere.

Beyond alarm, I was now beginning to wonder how I was going to afford to replace this book. I borrowed the book from another library. Finally I talked to the circulation librarian at Buswell. She kindly offered to put out an APB at the library, “just in case.” Of course, this proved fruitless. Equally kindly, she suggested we talk “after the holidays” about what this was going to mean.

So, I was technically at liberty but preparing to plead guilty, and waiting for my sentencing.

Yesterday, preparing to listen to the St. Olaf Christmas Festival online, my Karen suggested I drag out the speakers from my church office to use in the family room. They were easy enough to find, in a box, under my desk, tucked away with photos and other things I hope to put back in a professional office one day.

And what to my wondering eyes? There, in this open-topped box, in a hard to reach place, which had been left alone for about a year, was Christoph Wolff’s The World of the Bach Cantatas. How in the world did it get there? It could not just fall in. Everything under my desk is waiting for my next job; there is nothing from my current writing or teaching down there; indeed, I can barely pull my chair up to sit at the desk. Obviously someone (and it would have to be me) put the book here. I have absolutely no idea.

But that just adds to the wonder, the delight, the adventure of tearing a house upside down, and then being surprised long after giving up hope. So I invite you to “rejoice with me, for what was lost has been found!”

I can’t wait to put this into my librarian’s hands and celebrate with her!