Lost and Phoned


If you call my house any week night at around seven o’clock, you’ll probably speak to my almost four-year-old daughter, and the following conversation will most likely ensue:

My daughter: HALLO?

You: Hi, is your mother available?

My daughter: My mommy is nuh-sing the baby now. Call huh on huh cell phone.

CLICK.  (I didn’t say it would be a very long conversation.)

I’ve helplessly listened to that child say those words night after night (to God only knows who) as I’ve rocked my baby to sleep down the hall. I’ve tried explaining to my daughter that I, in fact, do not have my cell phone with me while I’m nursing the baby. I’ve even tried encouraging her to just let the call go to voice mail. But my daughter is stubborn and has taken it upon herself to answer the phone if it’s there and I’m not.

Sometimes a phone goes missing, though. And then it needs to be found; which can get pretty annoying if you can hear it but not see it. A missing cordless phone is one of the most aggravating things to lose around the house other than one shoe. A teacher of mine once told our class that if you want to drive someone MAD, hide only one of his shoes. When both shoes are gone, the person gives up eventually. When only one shoe is missing, the shoe seeker keeping searching and searching, falsely believing the other shoe must be near, except that it’s not. Because you have it.  (By the way, I am NOT recommending that anyone here do this. Repeat, NOT recommending.)

The other day, when we misplaced the cordless phone, I started thinking about the spiritual ramifications of a lost phone getting called “home”. See, a few days ago, we entered the month of Elul, the month proceeding the High Holidays, a time when we’re supposed to be thinking of how we can return to our “Spiritual Base”.

We ask God to start the process of teshuvah (returning) first, when we say “Hashiveinu, Hashem Ailecha” which is us asking God to put the signal out, to page us home, to give us a moment of clarity, a connection that inspires us to come back. And when we feel the inspiration, push aside the distractions, focus on what really matters, and hear the call, then “v’nashuva” – “we will return to You.”

Sometimes the phone is buried deep under couch pillows. Sometimes in ends up in the corner of the house, forgotten about. But if the phone is still in range of the base, and the beep from the paging makes even the faintest sound, the phone is still findable, still able to be returned.

Let’s do our best to listen to the signals that are being emitted right now for our call home and remove whatever it is that’s blocking the connection. And when we do hopefully return and recharge, let’s try not to get as far away next time.




  1. I love this analogy! Great post!

  2. That’s great for those of us who have cordless phones. But what if your only phone is a cell phone? Then no place is truly home.

  3. 🙂 Matthew, you are correct. The analogy would not apply for a cell phone or lost keys, glasses, shoes, etc. It’s only applicable when the object lost has a homing device built in.

  4. […] reflect on life (OK, just to be fair, so do half-eaten danishes, non-working can openers, and missing cordless phones). And so I've been doing some thinking about life, death, and the time in between these last few […]

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