There’s a McDonald’s restaurant near the Los Angeles jail facility where I used to serve as a visiting chaplain in my early days in the public practice of Christian Science. It was a good place for a snack before conducting the church services. It was also the only fast-food restaurant in a neighborhood fraught with heavy gang activity.
One evening I grabbed my wallet and a Christian Science Sentinel from the car and went inside for a soda before heading to the jail facility. The church service that night was uplifting and inspiring, as was usually the case for inmates as well as volunteer workers. At the time, I referred to this weekly rewarding activity as my “Monday metaphysical tune-up.” While I was driving home on an empty freeway, the Los Angeles skyline sparkled with lights. I was filled with gratitude for God’s goodness and love.
The next morning, however, as I was getting ready to return for one-on-one interviews with inmates, I realized that I’d left my wallet in the booth where I’d sat at the McDonald’s the night before.
As I turned immediately to God in prayer, two questions came to me. The first was, “Do you believe that all things are possible to God?” The second was, “Can you use this experience as proof that there is nothing outside of divine Principle?” The answer was the same for both questions and immediately dispelled any panic. I actually answered out loud, “Yes!” This affirmation allowed me mentally to refute the fearful suggestions associated with loss, identity theft, and self-condemnation. Consequently, I decided to continue with my usual morning routine before returning to the jail facility. I did place a phone call, however, to McDonald’s.
The daytime manager said that a wallet had not been turned in nor found at the restaurant the night before. Undaunted, I took a shower and got dressed, continuing to pray for a clearer understanding of man’s innocence, integrity, and oneness with God, Truth. Then I hopped in the car but stopped at the McDonald’s before going on to the facility.
I asked the manager to look once again in the back for the wallet. She did. She assured me that it wasn’t there. Although apologetic, she told me an unpleasant story about her own wallet and fraudulent activity that had occurred on her credit cards. She urged me to cancel my credit cards immediately. An employee at the cash register looked at me out of the corner of her eye, then said, “Oh, your wallet is probably long gone.”
In this particular circumstance I felt that had I cancelled my credit card accounts or frantically rushed off that morning to McDonald’s on my way back to the jail, I would have been accepting loss as a reality. And the angel messages from my prayers were loud and clear: God would not forsake me, and nothing—no person, no situation, no circumstance—could deprive me of what is rightfully mine.
A statement by Mary Baker Eddy came to me about the importance in metaphysical practice of not having the “minds which surround your patient ... continually expressing such opinions as may alarm or discourage, …” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 424). So, armed with confidence in divine Mind, I found myself asking both the manager and the cashier, “What would you do if you found someone’s wallet?” Each said they would make every effort to locate the rightful owner. “Exactly,” I said, feeling that their own valuing of integrity would assuage any unintentional “opposing mentality” (the marginal heading for the above-mentioned passage).
I then asked if someone would contact the night manager. A message was left on his cellphone. When he called back, I overheard the daytime manager say, “You did have the wallet? Oh, but you didn’t put it in the safe? Well, where did you put it?” She then disappeared into the back, and after a few moments came out to me, holding the wallet in her hands—almost reverently.
“You are so lucky,” she crooned as she threw her arms around me in disbelief. The employee at the cash register stared in amazement. I hugged her back, then shared with her how this experience wasn’t, for me, about being lucky, but rather about learning to trust God more in all areas of my life. She smiled for the first time, then nodded in agreement.
Nothing was missing from the wallet—not a single penny or charge card or my driver’s license. Everything was just as I had left it. Someone had found the wallet and turned it in to the manager, who had placed it in an assumed “secure” location.
Once again, I learned a lesson about the allness of God, divine Love. And so, I believe, did some of my sisters and brothers under the Golden Arches!