The concept of the lost and found is a funny one. When it is a physical location in a store or school it really is a place of the lost. The objects contained within have been discarded, either by accident or on purpose. It is the accumulation of the debris of the place. There is little emotionally invested in depositing objects into the lost pile. One can think of it as the last gasp before being lost completely to history.
The found part is something the seeker brings to the equation. In this space, finding the lost takes effort. It is not passive and usually there is an emotional attachment, even if that emotion is the desire not to pay for a replacement. The finder is on a quest and if successful will result in the joy of reconnection with something thought lost. If the object of the search is not there, then the feeling of loss deepens. Thus the found is really defined by the person seeking.
The act of seeking opens you up to finding not only the object sought, but the possibility of finding something else you had lost, but either forgot or missed losing it. I find this true when just cleaning my house, which seems a place of perpetual loss. (Having four kids under the age of eight will enable your house to swallow up objects as big as a small pony. I consider my house one big lost and found.) You go searching for a screwdriver and you find the book you had set down a month ago and never found again. That discovery could make the original search worth the effort, even if you did not find the original object of desire.
In terms of the lost box, it is a case of opposites. There is a huge emotional investment in your children. Their loss is devastating and can leave emotional scares that last a lifetime. They are an accumulation of love, patience, and nurturing. They are an investment that we hope pays off in the future. We are hoping they make history instead of being a last gasp. Putting my daughter in the “lost box” meant leaving a large part of me there as well.
Yet in that lost box I did find something that was there that I could take home. I learned how Angela had impacted so many people’s lives. That was the treasure I didn’t know I had lost. I didn’t even know I had had it in the beginning. I had hints of it, but the magnitude was hidden behind her smile and laughter as she would fly in the air as we played. I was able to use what I had found to mitigate some of the pain of the loss. While it will never completely even the equation, it is what I found I had lost in the lost pile that I will treasure the rest of my life.