It seems inevitable that a place like Pilgrim Center will end up with a lost and found. With the number of guests that we have passing through our rooms stuff is bound to be left behind. We have a drawer full of cell phone chargers and there are a couple of boxes of clothing left behind. It is not unusual for us to receive a phone call a couple of hours after a group has left site asking us if we have found something in particular. Sometimes what has been left behind has particular value, either monetary or sentimental and the caller wants to make sure we can set it aside or put it in the mail. Other times we find things and never receive an inquiry. Last weekend a guest left an entire dresser drawer of clothing and another guest left a very nice winter coat. We have not received a phone call on either item as of yet. Sometimes we are able to do a little detective work and track down the rightful owner and sometimes the items lie in our lost and found until the pile gets too big and then it is all donated to the local thrift store. Some things are just not worth pursuing, (we don’t keep any lost socks or underwear).
This perpetual situation got me wondering what else might be lost and found during people’s stay at our outdoor ministry sites. When guests arrive on site and are searching for some direction in their life, a little lost and found can be a good thing. I know at least half-a-dozen clergy that will tell you it was at one of our sites that they found their call to ministry. It is not unusual for guests to share that their stay gave them better clarity into their direction in life. I also know of stories of things being lost. It seems like every summer we have counselors who begin the summer convinced their life is moving in one direction, only to find things not being so sure by the end, or moving in a completely different direction. Sometimes it takes a little detective work and some searching to figure those things out also. Some folks begin their time with us in a state of uneasiness and filled with anxiety only to lose it and find a greater level of peace in its place. Not all cases of lost and found are a bad thing, sometimes what is lost leads to a much greater treasure being found. In the meantime, I sure wish someone would call about that great winter coat!