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"The case of the missing purse" by Catherine Mendenhall-Baugh (CatholicMom.com) Pixabay (2016), CC0 Public Domain[/caption] You know the feeling you get when you’ve lost your phone or lost your keys or maybe you’ve misplaced some important papers that were suppose to get in the mail that day. Dread overwhelms you and suddenly you have a feeling of panic. You can feel your blood pressure starting to rise. All sorts of things go through your mind: things like "my phone has all my contacts, my banking info, my address list, and my credit card info; it's essentially my ID." You then realize your keys unlock the house and the car and the post-office box; what are you going to do without your keys? Imagine the feeling you would experience if this had happened to you. Now imagine losing all of these items because you realized an hour and a half after leaving a grocery store you left your purse at the store somewhere and you can’t remember exactly where. Your house keys, your money, your ID, your phone, and some important papers are all in that purse! This very thing actually happened to me this past weekend. I grabbed my car keys after putting my groceries in the car and drove away from the store. I drove 34 miles to a mall so I could return a shirt that I had purchased earlier that week. I pulled into the parking lot of the mall where I planned to return the shirt and reached for my purse and immediately realized it wasn’t there. I checked the back seat, going through the grocery bags, and still -- no purse. The feeling of dread I described was inconceivable. I knew instantly that I had obviously left my purse at the store. I drove away from the mall realizing I did not have my phone or driver's license and began praying. St. Anthony has never let me down and I begged him not to let me down today. My sister lives about ten minutes from the mall so I decided to stop at her house so we could call the grocery store. We managed to talk to the customer service department and a manager. Both stated that no one had turned in a purse. More panic set in! My sister and I went through the grocery bags again and realized the purse was truly gone. I told her I was going back to that store. I jumped in my car and drove away from my sister’s house in a big hurry. (Yes, I remembered that I had no license, so I had to remind myself to remain calm and slow down!) That weekend had been Super Bowl weekend, so the number of people at the grocery story was considerably higher than normal. I can assure you, my prayers to Saint Anthony were heartfelt. I began saying Hail Mary’s. I begged Saint Anthony to please not fail me now. I realized that my purse was likely gone and I would have to make a lot of calls on Monday: stop by DMV and cancel the credit cards The whole process seemed overwhelming. These days your ID can be stolen and it goes beyond just canceling credit cards and replacing a driver’s license. You could actually lose your identity. One hour and 34 minutes had passed from the time I left the grocery store and the time I returned. To my surprise and grateful cheers, I saw it. There was the cart in the same place. How did I know it was my cart? Because I could see my purse sitting inside the basket. Yes; one hour and 34 minutes later my purse was still in that cart! I jumped out of the car and grabbed my purse. To add to my little miracle, nothing was missing from the purse. Phone, wallet, money, ID: everything was there. I immediately started cheering to myself. I closed my eyes and said several prayers of thanksgiving. My daughter Laura always says St. Anthony rocks! I totally was in agreement with her at that moment. I called my sister. She said, “You obviously found your purse since you are calling me on your phone. So, was money or anything else missing?” “No” I told her. “I can’t believe it.” Remembering the time it took for me to leave the store after buying groceries and return to the store was 1 hour and 34 minutes I was so shocked no one realized my purse was sitting in the cart. My sister commented “I think the Holy Spirit must have disguised your purse in the cart because so many people had to have walked by that cart. How could they have missed it?” The relief I felt was amazing. I began to think that my sister’s comment about the Holy Spirit disguising my purse was likely true. I shared this story with several people and everyone’s reaction was shock. How did that much time pass without someone seeing that purse in the cart? I like to acknowledge the little things that happen when I know God surrounds me with His love. Let's face it, most would just say I got lucky. I’m not a person that believes in luck. I truly believed that God and St. Anthony intervened for me this weekend. What I learned from this experience is to be grateful for these moments when God is present even when we don’t think He is. So I thanked God. I also thanked St. Anthony for his role in finding my purse. After all, you have to agree with my daughter Laura: St. Anthony totally rocks!
Copyright 2018 Catherine Mendenhall-Baugh