February 28, 2024

The Watch

By Curt Swarm

Our yard was a maze of plant and tree varieties. The trees complemented our affection for hostas, since hostas tend to be a shady yard plant. And we had hundreds of them. The trees also complemented our affection for summertime comfort from the sun. It was a big yard, nine lots, a corner lot, so lots of mowing. My wife insisted on taking the task of mowing, for two reasons. One, she loved the exercise of a walk-behind, self-propelled Toro. And, Two, the yard was her domain. She planted, fertilized, watered, pulled creeping charlie, and mowed. To listen to her talk about her yard, you would think it was her number one love. Her number two, was the guy that kept gas and oil in the Toro, and did the heavy lifting.

On a joyful day of early morning mowing, my wife came in the house, after only an hour or two of joy, with a sad countenance. She was sniffing, as in stressing about something. At the moment, she had lost enthusiasm for what she loved, and took a seat at the dining room table. Shortly, I learned she had lost her watch. Her good watch. This was not the appropriate time to ask why she was wearing her good watch for yard work. No, I didn’t go there. From her painful expression, I didn’t even think watch values. I just had empathy for how she was feeling. I bravely offered to go right out there and turn every blade of fresh mowed grass and creeping charlie stem, and all other watch hiding stuff. I was determined to bring happiness back to my best friend.

I stood in the middle of nowhereville: nine lots of yard, from Main Street to the alley, and suddenly, my lofty talk of recovery started to become sobering. “Where do I start?” I muttered. I just stood in one spot, spinning. “Where did she start, and where did she finish?”

All good questions.

Then I came to myself, and realized this is the time to do what I always do, PRAY. Why is it, we use all of our earthly options, then finally go to the Person who knows everything — the Person who knows us best, the Person who loves us, and wants us to trust Him? The reason I thought of praying is because praying has become my life style. I pray daily, I pray for just about everything, and anything, and everybody. Why? “And all things, whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.” Matt. 21:22. “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.” Col. 4:2 “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Jas. 5:16. That’s why.

With my eyes closed, I prayed, “Father, according to the Scripture, Jeremiah 1:5, you declared that, ‘before I was in my mother’s womb, you knew me.’ You know everything about me. You know that I am a sinner. You know my day of departure from this life. My petition is for but a small worldly token that belongs to the love of my heart. I do not pray for you to reveal its location, but help me discover it with my own willingness to search. And I ask it in the name above all names, the name of Jesus. Amen.”

I opened my eyes, just as a burning piece of paper fluttered out of the burn barrel in the alley. My mind suddenly forgot the watch, while I dashed as quickly as I could to catch up with a potential disaster about to take place on the adjacent ninth lot. As the burning paper cartwheeled, I saw I could overcome its path by taking a diagonal route. Within five feet of getting my foot on it, a shudder of goosebumps overwhelmed me. The paper was a page from “Daily Bread,” a devotional booklet. My first thought was, “This is going to be a God thing!” I stepped on the smoldering remnant of paper, where I could still make out the remainder of the lesson title of that day. It said, in large, bold, black, letters: “WATCH.” And my wife’s watch was laying right beside it! PTL!

Contact Curt Swarm at curtswarm@yahoo.com