The Gift of a Lost Wallet

It’s Monday morning and I’ve lost my wallet.  Between my apartment and my car, which sits in a garage under my first-floor apartment.  It’s not a long walk.  Losing my wallet in this distance takes some kind of special talent, I think.


I realized it right away because normally my wallet is attached to my car keys and when I went to put them in the ignition something didn’t feel right.  I paused to figure out what it was.


Then I realized that my wallet was missing. “Okay,” I thought, “it’s probably just right outside the car door.” 




It fell under the seat.




I turned on my I-phone flashlight.  Searched my car.  Around my car.  In my bag.  In my lunch bag.  I retraced my steps.  My husband retraced my steps. I searched the coat closet floor and the bathroom.   I even examined the kitchen sink.


Nope. Nope. Nope. 


Evidently, my wallet doesn’t have to be anywhere it doesn’t want to be. 


Now, I am in the denial stage of grief.  Because this makes no sense.  How can it be GONE?  There are only but so many places it could go between my apartment and the garage. 


So here I am, Monday morning, sitting in the driver’s seat of my car with my laptop on my lap writing because I literally do not know what to do next. 


It’s really like half a wallet, my wallet, just a couple slots for cards and my I.D.  I love it for its simplicity.  It holds all my most important things and nothing else.


Note.  IT HOLDS ALL MY MOST IMPORTANT THINGS.  My driver’s license.  My university I.D.  My bank card.  The one credit card I use regularly and — modern American that I am — my Target card. 


I pause to breathe in an attempt to avoid going into panic mode, and I am reminded of a story/fable I heard recently of a rich guy who wasn’t happy, so he went to visit a spiritual teacher of some kind for some help. As part of his quest for happiness, the rich guy was wandering around the wilderness with just a backpack and at some point he put it down and the spiritual teacher secretly took it away and hid it.  The rich guy was really upset about the loss.  Not having anything else to do, he kept walking farther along his path.  Then, after he’d had plenty of time to really feel the loss of his stuff, the spiritual teacher left his backpack beside the road for him to find. 


And when he found his backpack and saw that nothing in it was missing, he was SO HAPPY. 


Mind you, the stuff in the backpack was the same stuff he’d had in the first place when he was UNHAPPY.  But now it made him SO HAPPY. 


I thought about how I would be SO HAPPY if my driver’s license and my little wallet that I love and my I.D. and credit cards were returned, and yet… yesterday when I was sitting down with the intention of giving thanks, none of these items occurred to me. 


As I write these words, I don’t know if I’ll get my license and my wallet back today, but this inconvenient loss has reminded me that I am very thankful that I have one, a driver’s license.  I imagine one day when I am old one of my children (or the DMV) will tell me that I can’t have one anymore. 


And I am thankful for the convenience of credit cards and my lovely little wallet that holds them for me.


And I’m thankful for my husband who didn’t berate me when I asked for his help looking for my lost wallet in the middle of his meditation time.


And I’m thankful for all the help I’ve gotten – therapy, coaching, music, books, spiritual teachers, friends—that is enabling me to avoid LOSING MY MIND or hating myself in this moment.   That is perhaps most amazing thing of all.  That I am not going down a spiral of doom.


On Monday morning.


The start of a new week.


When I have lost my wallet just as I was heading out to work.



Because I know that I am free to choose to lose my mind OR to pause, cry, take a deep breath, cancel my credit cards, and see what I need to do about a new I.D.


  • This does not have to be a sign that the Universe is against me.

  • This does not have to be sign that I suck at everything.

  • This doesn’t not have to be a sign that this whole week is about to go down the toilet.


It can just be a bummer, a hassle, a disappointment, that I am strong and resourceful enough to handle. 




It can also be a light shining on all the loveliness I’ve missed noticing each day when it was right there in front of me – the loveliness hidden in something as mundane as my driver’s license and my simple little grey wallet.


By the time you read this, I will know what happened next.  I’ll let you know if you’re interested. 


But until then I hope you will find new joys in the tiny little things that you HAVEN’T lost today. 


Here’s to thriving!




P.S.  If you’re a teacher (or you know a teacher) who cares deeply about the kids you serve, but is struggling to find your way out of depression and discouragement on a pretty regular basis, please consider joining me and other teachers like you in my new online course Less Stress, More Justice.  It starts Sunday, Oct. 21 and it’s just $25.00.  We’ll wrap up just before Thanksgiving – and you’ll have much to be thankful for by then.  You can get more info here.