Author: Gregory Farnham
I haven’t found one in a while
Ever since I started going on photo walks with friends, I started collecting small objects to remember what happened that day. Photos taken during an adventure are forgotten over time, but the shenanigans that happen during the day I always are something I remember. One day, I came across a single distressed lost playing card and thought to myself..
“How long would it take to collect a complete deck of 54 playing cards from lost cards found?”
I was intrigued.
Think about the exponential math involved to calculate the chances of finding that one last few cards?! It’s amazing how often I found cards once I started looking for them. I couldn’t stop finding them. With each of these cards found I wrote the date, location, and what I was doing that day or something significant that happened recently.
I created rules for my collecting of cards:
- 1. Cards could not be stolen from a full deck. (Taking cards from a full deck ruins them)
- 2. If I found a partial deck, I could take up to 3 cards. ( This would allow me to pickup a few cards that I will eventually have a difficulty finding)
- 3. I had to find them (Someone else on the adventure cannot find them or point them out.. It’s my project, not theirs)
- 4.I had to catalog them as they came in. (No slacking off..)
I was excited to give them life again, giving them purpose even though they had been discarded, lost, or left behind. A partial deck of cards was useless to whomever they belonged to.. so I didn’t feel bad keeping them. My collection had started, and it’s still growing. A few months pass and my collection had grown to a dozen or so.. and I continue to look for them. Each of them having a memory of what was happening at that time in my life, or that day (whichever was more significant.)
The most important card that I’ve found so far is the Queen of Hearts. My brother and I received a call from family that my Grandma Heinen’s health was failing and that she may not make it through the night. Charles and I drove up to Madison to be with the family and be around Grandma in her final hours. She wasn’t coherent, but as comfortable as possible. We were able to see her one last time. Charles and I returned back to Rockford that evening knowing that she wouldn’t make it, but happy that we got to say goodbye. I tried to carry on the next day, using work as a distraction from being completely miserable. I got the call. She had passed away. Heavy hearted, I took an early lunch sometime around 11. As I sit at the lunch table, I looked to the ground and a playing card laid face down on the carpet. There was no explainable reason why any single card would be lying there; no kids playing last hour, not a misplaced drama department prop. I picked it up and stared at if for a while. The Queen of Hearts. I remembered times at her house on Hummingbird Trail, playing Gin Rummy late hours into the night. She enjoyed playing cards. I felt like this was my Grandma saying goodbye.
There is a purpose to everything that we do in our lives. It’s astounding what we see if we allow ourselves to open our eyes and consciously look for what we seek. If I hadn’t had the precursor to actively look for playing cards, I would have thought nothing of the card laying on the ground and walked past it. It continues to remind me that I need to be more aware of my surroundings and slow down from a constantly busy life. To “Stop and smell the roses.”
I’ve told this story to many. A week ago, when I was telling this tale to a new friend, I realized I haven’t found many lost cards if any since then. It weighed on me when I realized that I’ve been so preoccupied with everything in the last year or two that I haven’t found a single card. Or maybe I wasn’t looking. I had lost the ambition to look for and complete my collection of lost playing cards. A simple task of picking up a lost playing card and marking it with a sticky note. Not so difficult. I’ve been so busy with life that it kept me from finding any more. I need to slow down and start looking again.
It made me wonder what else I have been neglecting. I started thinking of the list of things I’ve wanted to accomplish that I have put on the back burner or claimed “I was too busy for.”:
- • Working with film
- • Cooking more at home instead of eating fast food
- • Keeping the apartment clean to be able to have friends over.
- • Dating
- • Canceling debt
- • Spending quality time with friends and family
- • Volunteering in the community
- • Pursing a relationship with our God
I vowed a long time ago to not make New Year’s resolutions. They don’t work for me and just add to lists like the one above. I haven’t been in my dark room for months. The ebb and flow or leftovers in my fridge has been constant, and times where I feel like I could have been an episode of hoarders. I haven’t been out on a date in years, and still spending more money than I should. I’ve taken on more work than I can handle. Maybe it’s the cabin fever, or the lengths of time forced to stay inside due to the weather, but there is something about this time of year that always makes me think “How I am going to better myself?” or “What does this year have in store?” We all find a need to regroup, reset and reform some of these bad habits. I’ve started to tackle some of the things I’ve removed from priorities. With this renewed outlook towards what is important to me, I’ve began to move towards reconstituting good habits in my life.
- • Make time to read.
- • Make time for family and friends, find activities that allow you to spend time together.
- • Goto church and actively participate.
- • Find like minded individuals who are a positive influence to myself and others.
- • Stay positive and share the optimism.
There are so many corrupting forces that surround us and make us forget what is truly important. Never mind that everyone else is making New Year’s resolutions. What needs to change in your life, and what are you doing to change it?
What has distracted you from completing your collection of lost playing cards?