Last week when Tom and I were homeward bound after our short road trip, I started to get a sinking feeling in my stomach. I unbuckled my seat belt and searched through the back seat. It wasn’t there! I asked Tom if he had carried it out from our hotel room. No, and neither had I. I looked again in the back seat, lifting everything up to peer beneath it, but it wasn’t anywhere in the truck. We had left it behind. It was lost.
The it to which I am referring? The comforter my Grandmother Irvin made for me and gave me when I graduated from high school. For 37 years I have taken that blanket with me everywhere. It went to college, moved with us to Nashville, went back to Ohio, got used on guest beds and thrown on the couch. I used it in a sermon to explain the Holy Spirit (wrapped in love). The colors of the comforter have not faded and I love it as much as I love any thing.
When nice hotels started going to duvet covers, I started taking this comforter on the road when we traveled. I cannot sleep under a duvet – one constant hot flash! The comforter is just the right weight for a hotel room. And when we packed up and left the hotel that morning, I had left the comforter neatly folded on the bed.
As soon as I realized we had left it behind, I called the hotel. I was transferred to housekeeping and they said, yes, they had found the comforter and they would be glad to mail it to me. I gave them my address in Fort Oglethorpe, but we seemed to be having a little northern/southern accent problem. Although I spelled Chickamauga several times, I wasn’t sure she understood. Instead of having the comforter get lost in the mail, I called back and asked them to send it to the billing address on my credit card – John’s house in Columbus. That way I didn’t have to spell anything and I am sure it will be waiting for us when we get back to Ohio. I will have to do without the comfort of my comforter for a few weeks, but that it better than losing it forever.
Problem resolved, I could get back to enjoying our road trip and we had one more stop before we got back home to Chickamauga: The University of the South in Sewanee. The University of the South is up on the Cumberland plateau. It was founded by Episcopalian Bishop Leonidas Polk before the Civil War but built after the war was over. Bishop Polk was also one of the Confederate Generals in charge of an army at Chickamauga.
The University of the South is a beautiful campus on top of the plateau. There are gorgeous views from most of the buildings. Tom had been here before, but it was my first trip. We went to the Sewanee Cross, that stands like a sentinel witness over the surrounding countryside. I’m not sure how big the cross is, but Tom took my picture next to it. Can you find me? I felt pretty small next to that cross.
Which brings me to the point of the story. That comforter is a small thing but it has grown more precious to me over the years and I would have been devastated if it was lost forever. I am a small thing next to that cross, but God would grieve if I were lost. God would never give up looking for me or calling me back to himself. I am even more precious to God than that comforter is to me. We are so small next to God’s love – but even so God cares for us with an infinite and abiding love.
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found. Was blind, but now I see.