Of Handkerchiefs and Redemption

Today’s morning was a normal one like most others, except maybe a little slower.  I didn’t have to be at work until 8:oo, but I got up at normal time to leisurely make a coffee cake to take in for our staff meeting.  Everything was merrily happening (after, of course, I re-read the recipe the night before, realized that I had used the last of my eggs, had a little stress-out session, was consoled by my hub that he would take me to the lil’ foodtown grocery in Tipp the next morning to get my dearly needed eggs.  So yes.  I walked in to the grocery at 6:oo am just after they unlocked the doors.  That was the start of this normal day.)  

So yes…after all that, everything was working out merrily, and an easy recipe of blueberry coffee cake that looked rich and yummy popped in to the oven, and I made my way back to the mirror.  Finishing my morning routine, I needed something that I knew was in the rummermaid tote that I keep all my sewing supplies and scraps in.  Don’t ask me what that something was.  I’ve forgotten in light of all the excitement that followed.  I was rooting around in a Meijer bag from the bottom of the tote (yes- I said rooting, and yes- I was rooting.  This is Mandalyn you’re talking to, you know) and I found this white handkerchief.  And what was it I was looking for agai—-WAIT!!!! WHAT?!?! A WHITE HANDKERCHIEF?!?!?


I pried my fingers open and looked.  It was a little wrinkled, and all around the edges was a dainty lace border.  I didn’t recognize it as one of my many white handkerchiefs I had found and re-found and inspected in the last 10 months…gasp.  Is this it?! The lost hanky?!  I was shaking by this time…I truly couldn’t even mentally process what Grandma Great’s hanky looked like and whether this was it.  Only one thing to do - consult good ol’ Michael Carr.  I dashed (literally) into Neil’s office, fired up his computer that was acting oh-so-slowly this morning, and popped open our folder of wedding pics.  I had just found and opened this photograph when Neil walked in from his guys’ bible study.


"What are you doing?!"


Valid question, I suppose, considering it was not yet 7:3o in the morning, my nose was glued to the computer screen, I was bouncing up and down on the office chair and letting out muffled squeaks of disbelief.  It matched!! It was the one, the handkerchief that almost every woman in all the 4 generations of posterity from Grandad and Grandma Edgecomb had carried down her wedding aisle.  The handkerchief that I had lost.  And had torn apart my house and my hair follicles in order to find.  It was here in my very hands!!


Neil and I did a little happy dance and then a happy hug, and my thankful heart went rushing to the phone to call who else but my mom. :)  No answer.  Not deterred.  Dialing Dad.  ”I FOUND THE HANKY!”


Oh. The coffee cake.  Looked yummy - by this time I was needing to be hustling out the door, so I quickly popped the cake out of the bundt pan.  


Crumble.


Sadness! I know better than to de-pan a cake just after I pull it from the oven!  Major honking coming from the direction of Mandalyn.  I plunked the cake on a cooling rack, grabbed a pretty plate and a bowl for the (grumble) chunks, and piled into the passenger seat of Neil’s truck (my car was in the shop all week, so he’s been my handsome private chauffeur).  His best attempts to contain his amusement at my predicament didn’t exactly work, and I caught him grinning at me and my mess of a cake.  Ok, fine.  I guess it is kinda funny…so we laughed aloud, and I neatly arranged the coffee cake on the plate, minus about a third of it that was banished to the bottom of the bowl.


Redemption.


It actually did taste really yummy, and my dear coworkers liked it.


Redemption again.


Neil got a call that my car was finished at the shop, so he dropped me off and I reacquainted myself with driving.  Off to the grocery.  Mom knew that the hanky was found by this time - Grandma was next in line for the news.  I told her to guess my really exciting news, so she did.  

Shoulda known she’d guess it….she is my mother’s mother. :D  

Called Grandma Great - no answer.  Figured she was probably back at the fair. :)  Grocery shopping was actually fun today (I think that makes a total of 4 enjoyable grocery shopping trips in my entire almost-year of married life.  Really.  I don’t like it.  Food is expensive, and expensive things do not jive well with budgets that don’t allow for expensive things).  It was only grace - I left my agendas in the car and entered Meijer determined to spread the love of my Savior and my miracle-working-hanky-sovereign God.


Redemption.


Sent a text message to all the other Edgecomb ladies that the hanky was found and my phone was abuzz for the next 3o minutes. :)


Redemption.


Stopped by our garden on the way home because I was craving a swim.  We’re swimming in cherry tomatoes these days.  We have hundreds and hundreds!  I planted beans while Neil planted ‘maters, and I didn’t think to tell him I wanted mostly large Romas and Beefsteaks planted and only fill in with cherry tomatoes.  So.  We’re the proud owners of a cherry tomato farm.  Or something. Call me up - we do free shipping!! :)



And I tell you what, there is nothing better than talking to your great-grandmother while picking cherry tomatoes.  Especially when you’re able to tell her that her once lost handkerchief is found!!


Redemption.


Rescued.  From Hopelessness.


Not that I was thick in the pits if despair over this hanky (anymore at least), but it was a pit in the bottom of my gut every time I’d think of it.  And somehow today, mostly because of the handkerchief, I felt redeemed.  Handkerchiefs don’t redeem me any more than yummy coffee cakes do.  Or any other self-wrought act of mine.  Redemption is of God, by God, through God, out of God, and for God.  


I lived a redemptive story today, and it goes deeper than finding a handkerchief -  it was a precious reminder that God redeems us freely and delights to do it!


If we’re blessed with a family, my daughters (and sons, though they may not be quite as thrilled) will hear The Story of The Lost and Found Handkerchief.  They’ll hear stories about my great-grandma, and my very first garden full of cherry tomatoes and my coffee cake flops.  And they’ll hear, by God’s grace, The Story of Redemption.  It’s the greatest ever told.  


Won’t we share it?!





*Photo credit to Michael Carr - awesomest wedding photographer in Dayton.