I had arrived early (not NORMALLY my style) to my weekly yoga practice. I decided to take advantage of one of our first truly warm spring days of the season and walked around the studio’s parking lot to de-fog my brain from a busy day.
I helped get the studio set up for class and took some time to focus as the workout began. In the middle of my flow from Downward Facing Dog to Plank and back to Down Dog, I felt a tickle from the back of my ear. I watched as the back of my earring fell to my yoga mat in front of my face.
I stayed focused on the movements and brushed the back of the earring aside. I reached up to grab the actual earring and set it to the side of my mat as well. But, when I touched my ear, I realized that the earring wasn’t there.
Panic set in. I tried for 5 minutes to continue with the poses, but my brain was spinning, my stomach started to churn, and I knew I had to stop and go outside to look for my missing earring before the sun went down.
I awkwardly excused myself from the class, grabbed my shoes, and headed outdoors to search.
At this point, you might be wondering what the big deal was. People lose earrings all the time. Maybe you’re thinking it was a family heirloom, or at the very least belonged to my now-deceased grandmother. Nope. None of that.
I was freaking out because these earrings were from Tiffany & Co.
Tiffany’s, of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” fame…of “Little Blue Box” fame…of “Nothing very bad could happen to you at Tiffany’s” fame.
Maybe Tiffany’s doesn’t make your heart pitter-patter, and the idea of receiving a beautiful gift in a little blue box isn’t something that excites you—but it does me. You see, I like nice things. I guess I always have. I’m a product of a society that directs their marketing towards people like me. I bought into the American Dream hook, line, and sinker! I grew up with parents who created a childhood and young adulthood for me that was firmly rooted in the middle class: never wanting for anything, but always wanting something!
Of course, when I launched out into the world on my own, I quickly realized I didn’t have the budget for all the ‘nice things’ I thought I would have as a young adult. My American Dream was not quite as shiny as I expected.
I’m more than a decade into my adult life, and I’d say I’m a fairly level-headed and responsible person. I have a job. I pay my bills. I live within my means–mostly. After recently experiencing a perceived set-back of sorts in my life, a friend presented me with a gift to celebrate the fact that I took a tough ‘life event’ and navigated my way through it with grit, compassion, and determination.
She’d gotten me this gift because she says every girl should have something that makes her feel fabulous when they put it on, especially on hard days.
When I reached in the bag to find a little blue box with two silver knot earrings in it, I gasped. The gift felt too large, too generous, too much to accept. But, it was beautiful, meaningful, and it made my little heart sing. For consumers like me who like nice things, this gift felt special, even aside from the meaning attached to it.
Flashback to me walking around a parking lot, eyeing the cracked asphalt, hoping to see a little flicker of light as the setting sun caught a piece of silver amongst the concrete. I cried. Then I told myself not to cry because the tears would make it harder to see. I retraced my steps once, twice, then a third time.
As the class was coming to an end, my instructor came outside to see if I was ok. I cried and blubbered my sad sob story to her, and then to the owners of the studio. My earring was nowhere to be seen. It was truly lost, and searching for it longer seemed like a lost cause.
“I don’t know why I’m crying,” I said. “It’s just a thing.”
But in my heart, I thought…a pretty and expensive thing from Tiffany’s and I LOST it!
I spent a good amount of time talking myself down from the proverbial ledge as I drove home. Things are things. Losing this earring made me sad, but it wasn’t the end of the world. I’ve lived long enough, and in enough places, to know that the things we own don’t define us. They don’t make us truly happy—or sad. They don’t, in most cases, alter the trajectory of our lives.
Like my earrings, the ‘things’ we collect are just accessories. Sure, it’s nice to have nice things. And it’s hard to lose things that we love, but it’s imperative that we find our identity in something that can’t be lost and won’t fade away. When we’re rooted and grounded in something more lasting than ‘stuff’, we can better handle the gifts and losses in life with gratitude, humility, and grace.
I’m happy to report that this sad little story does have a happy ending. When I got home and went into my room, I saw a shimmer of light on top of my bed. I rushed in closer, and there, on top of my duvet, was my lost earring. It must have fallen out when I was changing for class.
What about you? What nice things do you just LOVE? Have you ever lost something of great value to you? And maybe more importantly, where do you root your identity? Is it something lasting, or something you can lose?
This post reflects the views of the author, and is intended to start a conversation. Please share your thoughts in the comments below!
Or, if you’d like to hear some overall thoughts on identity from Christians at THRED, you can find those over here.