A few days back, I mentioned that I lost my keys and flash drive. Like a detective, I've pieced together enough details to know that I left the flash drive plugged into the USB port at the computer at the front podium in 312 Boucke, a multipurpose classroom in a high-traffic building on the campus where I teach. The professor who uses the room after me saw the keys, but left them in their place. By the time I returned to the room that evening, they were gone.
Despite the note I left at the podium inquiring of their whereabouts, despite my two trips to student union building to visit the lost key receptacle (a sad plastic box where hundreds of keys meet their final resting place), and despite my diligence to seek out staff assistants and janitors and random passers-by to ask if they've seen the keys, they've never turned up.
It's been nearly two weeks. I'm giving up the ghost. I'll be filling out the paperwork for a new office key and purchasing a new flash drive tomorrow.
Regardless of this disappointing result, there's a refreshing part of this story. My friend from church heard about my situation and shared it with her husband who works as a tech guy on campus.
He approached me and asked what classrooms I used, typing in the locations into his phone. He visited each classroom, unlocking the podiums to check if the keys had fallen through any cracks to the dusty floor beneath. He went out of his way to ask the janitors if anything had turned up. Then, he made a point to check in again and give me an update.
The thing is, he didn't have to do any of this. It wasn't his problem. It's not his job to trek across campus in blustery weather to chase after my lost keys. And yet, he made my problem, his problem.
I was so touched, so appreciative. He shrugged it off as a simple gesture: "Of course I'd try to help."
Sometimes, our gestures -- whether we seem them as large or small -- speak volumes to others. This man's gestures reminded me about the character of God, a God who gets invested in our issues, who cares enough to get involved in our messes.
So, I've never found the keys, but once again, I've found that kind actions can speak loudly.