Lost and Found

VG_fave.jpg
Viola & Grant, Canon 300D

The night my friends Viola and Grant left for their wedding in Virgin Gorda, they stopped at our house for dinner on the way to the airport. We ate takeout Thai food, left the house to say goodbye and all stopped abruptly at the car.

In silent disbelief, we stared at the shattered glass on the ground, the empty trunk, the confusion of nothing left. NO!!!!!!!!! Viola shouted and fell to her knees.

Their luggage was gone, {shoes for the wedding, a necklace of her grandmother’s, a treasured and expensive pair of binoculars, ALL of their favorite clothing, a laptop computer, the list continues…} All gone.

Grant was quiet. “We have each other,” he said.

*

And then there was the most beautiful of weddings, a big italian family that flew in from Milano, friends and family from St. Thomas, Amsterdam & San Francisco, rowdy frolics in the swimming pool with cocktails in hand, rich days of celebration strung together.

And then, the night of their wedding, we swam under the moonlight in the warm salty water. We laughed and had bare ass contests to see who was whitest or had the best contrast and buoyancy. We drank bottles of wine tinged with salt water. We howled at the moon and cracked ourselves up.

And then Matt and Grant swam up and I could see they were worried.

I asked Matt, “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” he insisted.

“Seriously honey, what’s wrong?” I asked again. His eyes looked puffy and bloodshot.

“Grant’s wedding ring fell off, he whispered, “It’s at the bottom of the ocean.”

Lost.

Grant’s sister Robin is a jeweler. I wish you could have seen the rings because they are so beautiful…modeled after a pre-columbian design, sea creatures carved into them. Grant’s ring had an octopus and Viola’s had a jellyfish. {If you knew them, you would understand why these symbols are so beautiful and fitting.} The rings were originals, the mold long since melted and cast away.

The next morning, Viola and Grant grabbed their snorkels and masks and dove down and searched. A swell had come and kicked everything up and it was all different down there, all milky and hazy and new.

Letting go. More letting go.

As Viola finally headed back to the surface, she saw something. A glint of gold, a buried treasure, the ring sitting on a shelf in the coral, as if it had been placed on a nightstand overnight, safe and out of the way of the current.

Magic.

What I am left with though, at the end of this tremendous story, is a whisper of something bigger than all of it, a message hidden in the cracks of coral and rock. It was at the moment of letting go that Viola found the ring, which to me seems the opposite of the running shoes and the resolve and the go-get-em striving we are so accustomed to.

It is the floating and swooshing of water, the being carried, the treasures right under the surface that whisper to me. It is the stopping digging, the letting go and the allowing the octopus to spend one last night tucked away in a rock undersea.

38 Comments

  1. Posted October 10, 2004 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Andrea, I am in tears… such a beautiful story of love and hope. You seem to have such a ring of strong, beautiful friends, and I wish Viola and Grant a lifetime of health and happiness.
    Letting go… my goal… my wish…
    Bless you Andrea for sharing your beautiful life and stories with us. Hugs!

  2. Posted October 10, 2004 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    right, thats it. i am letting go. what timing – this post could have been written esp for me.

  3. Sarah
    Posted October 10, 2004 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Oh my goodness — chills, I have chills! What a wonderful story, Andrea. Thanks for sharing it!

  4. Posted October 10, 2004 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    I want to comment….but I am stuck….blessings

  5. amy b.
    Posted October 10, 2004 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    god. what a tremendously beautiful story. i love the thought and how you put it, of the octopus ring sitting on the coral shelf, the ocean’s night stand. and it resting there peacefully all night long, waiting to be picked up and put on the next day. now grant’s ring is so so so saturated with magic, how lucky. i love too, his comment to viola, ‘we have each other’. it puts the notion of what we have and want and need, what we think is important, into a nice perspective. but damn, i’ll always remember the ring waiting overnite under the ocean.

  6. Posted October 10, 2004 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this. It couldn’t have come at a better time!

  7. Posted October 10, 2004 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Oh, wow… your writing is beautiful and so real and simple. It seems that all the interesting things happen to you and you draw such profound, heavenly conclusions. I wish i could have that talent. u make the world such a beautiful place to be.

  8. Julian
    Posted October 10, 2004 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Dear Andrea,
    Your story is such a treasure, as are your friends, their story, your collective memories, and the dear Earth which is continually offering up her gold.
    Thank you for sharing this story now. I receive it as magic. It uplifts my momentarily discouraged spirit. Thank you. Graci.
    Ciao Bella,
    Julian

  9. Julia
    Posted October 10, 2004 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Truly this story is 1 of amazing grace…. I smiled, I got chills, and my eyes filled with tears. Thank you for this wonderful tale, with all its insight and lessons. You rock!!! :)

  10. Posted October 10, 2004 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Andrea,
    If we ever need a timely lesson in impermanence and the wisdom of stripping back all our attachments to get back to what is real and important – then this is it! Beautiful story, beautiful writing and a beautiful couple.

  11. Laura
    Posted October 10, 2004 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    What an absolutely beautiful and memorable story. This is the kind of thing that our lives are made of.

  12. Posted October 10, 2004 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    This was exactly what I needed to read right now. Thank you for your beautiful story. Magic.

  13. Posted October 10, 2004 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    A beautiful story!! Wonderfully told. What a great story teller you are!!!

  14. Morgan
    Posted October 10, 2004 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Oh Andrea! This is one of those stories that I’m going to file away and tell to others when they most need it. Letting go…what a glorious thing.
    Your colorful photos have inspired me so much…here is a temporary website I put up- http://www.fotolog.net/fireflymo
    You are lovely, and I’m saving up for one of those cute new tank tops!
    Morgan

  15. Jen in Ohio
    Posted October 10, 2004 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Hey Andrea,
    I’m sending the link to this post to all my friends. I think we all need a lesson in letting go every now and then. Thank you, as always, for a wonderful lesson in perspective.

  16. Posted October 10, 2004 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    you continue to amaze me with your incredible and touching stories.
    it was a perfect story to read before i drifted off to sleep…and yet will read again tomorrow.
    thanks!

  17. Steph
    Posted October 11, 2004 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    What a thrilling story, and what a wonderful reminder of how life will take care of itself if you let it. I don’t think I will ever forget how your friend found the octopus ring in the bottom of the sea. Thank you.

  18. Brenda in Toronto
    Posted October 11, 2004 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Hi Andrea –
    Haven’t commented in a while, but I’ve been faithfuly reading:) As always, I am struck by the gift you have to see things the way you do. And the gift of being able to put it into words. Thank you for sharing your gifts:)
    Brenda

  19. jenn
    Posted October 11, 2004 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    andrea,
    you are a beautiful writer. thank you for this story.
    as i told you we are having a house built. we go each weekend take pictures, walk through the house, touch the walls, imagine our lives in our new house. we become more and more excited with each visit.
    the past month has been very hard for me. i’ve become increasingly more nervous with each visit. i have this fear for some reason our financing won’t happen or that something is going to make this not happen.
    is it that i want it that much and i start to doubt it really happening? am i somewhere feeling i don’t deserve this house?
    i am greatful i read this story today. it’s reminded me that i just need to let get go. buying a house is a big commitment and it’s perfectly okay to be nervous about it.
    letting go is of course the reason this house came into our lives in the first place. it was only after we had let go and surrendered that we found this real estate agent, this house and our mortgage broker.
    today i feel okay… i am getting go and trusting that our lives are going to work out the way they are supposed to, no matter what happens.
    thank you for the beautiful story and reminder.
    jenn

  20. Posted October 11, 2004 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Andrea, this story – like so many of the stories you tell – is amazing and touching and magical. Thank you for continuing to share these moments with all of us.

  21. Posted October 11, 2004 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    What a beautifully told story – thank you so much for sharing it with us.
    xo

  22. Posted October 11, 2004 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Goosebumps.

  23. cousin eric
    Posted October 11, 2004 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Hey Andrea
    We met in Virgin Gorda.
    I haven’t cried so hard since Viola and Grant’s wedding. Thanks so much for bringing me back so lightly and effortlessly to that extraordinary place where swimming down into the water feels like flying. Now I’m gonna try to catch my breath.
    Thanks so much.
    Peace.
    Eric

  24. maureen
    Posted October 12, 2004 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    I’m crying.

  25. Posted October 12, 2004 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this story and much needed reminder.

  26. Posted October 12, 2004 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    beautiful…thank you.

  27. Posted October 12, 2004 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    andrea~ this is totally unrelated to your post… (although, as always, it was a good one :) )
    how do you have fun?
    emily.

  28. mati
    Posted October 12, 2004 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    i feel like everything must have been said above, but it obviously resonates with us all! the letting go is so important. i like how you also said “the whisper” of something bigger! was that a pun? i hope you have your voice back! AND i heart my beautiful superfabuloushero new pyrex necklace. thank you!

  29. Posted October 12, 2004 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Oh my, Andrea….big. huge. lump in my throat. That was beautiful and wonderful and *sigh*. Thanks.

  30. Posted October 12, 2004 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    Your story, the beautiful message and the comments of all the people above… what a gift!
    Thanks for a friendly reminder of the art of letting go… and the beautiful message that tells me that everything will be OK.
    Thank you Andrea,
    BBB

  31. cheryl
    Posted October 13, 2004 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    so perfect for today. and probably every day. thanks.

  32. Posted October 13, 2004 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    I retold your story to my mom yesterday and by the end we were both near exasperated tears and had goose bumps all over. And then we participated in an extended volley of “ohmigods” and “can you believe its” back and forth like a verbal empathetic wimbledon championship. Thank you so much for sharing that story.

  33. jolene
    Posted October 13, 2004 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    GORGEOUS

  34. Posted October 13, 2004 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    What a precious and magical posting! Reading it took my mind away from deadlines, busy office cubicles and transported me to paradise and a warm rested place were love reigns!

  35. Amy
    Posted October 15, 2004 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Andrea –
    I want to thank you from the deep places of my soul — for giving me a little confirmation that magic exists. I believe that when we learn to go and flow with the current of life and not try to hold on to things of old and struggle against the current, we are able to see the magic and “coincidences” that unfold for us each day. I sent your wonderfully written essay to many of my friends and all have responded with Thank you’s for the excellent reminder. Your site is my most favorite one on the internet! Keep on telling truth’s and rockin’ out witcha bad self! xoxoxox

  36. angela
    Posted October 18, 2004 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    oh andrea. it’s been so long since i’ve been here, and i’ve missed you terribly. and then today, it’s as though i had this inner voice that needed to bring me here. and i’m reading and i’m listening and there is just so much on my mind right now that i could simply spill out.
    but maybe what i really need right now is the silence and these beautiful words, reminding me, teaching me, almost like they are carrying me.
    i adore you andrea. as a true friend, i adore you.
    ang.

  37. Posted October 18, 2004 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    wow, that is amazing and beautiful!

  38. Posted October 20, 2004 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    oh andrea . . . thank you for such a gorgeous story . . . you just radiate such goodness . . . and see such amazing things . . . what a story . . . what a reminder :) wow . . . (a little misty over here :)