Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Monday, February 19, 2018

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you."

– Matthew 7:7

I’ve always had a problem with that quote from Jesus, especially the part about seeking and you will find – at least when it comes to life in our house, where all the seeking in the world typically produces no results.

"If it had teeth, it’d bite you," my late mother said so many times I lost count.

Sitting in Starbucks, I thought of her recently when a woman beside me started snarling into her cell phone at a) her husband b) her son or c) her boyfriend because he couldn’t find something that was clearly in plain sight (at least to her thinking).

"I TOLD you it’s in the drawer behind the silverware. Are you looking in the drawer?" There was a long, tortured pause and then the snarling resumed.

"HA! So you found it! It was in the drawer!"

She turned to me with a sinister smile on her face, which seemed to reaffirm it (whatever "it" was) was in the drawer.

For a moment, I could hear my mother singing from the heavenly realm, accompanied by angelic choirs: "If it had teeth, it’d bite you la la la."

Over the years, many women –my mother, my wife, my secretaries, my daughters – have reviled me because I couldn’t find something right in front of my nose. Usually it was something they "put away" in their uncompromising zeal to "straighten up."

An argument often erupted and they’d say, "Can’t you find anything!" or "Open your eyes!" or "It’s staring you right in the face!" Of course, they never said, "Seek and you will find it."

I’m not a chauvinist, but women I know seem to delight in this sort of "gotcha" behavior, when it involves a guy. We make a mess and they "straighten up" and put things where only the cast of CSI could find them after a lengthy investigation.

Last week, I was so sick that I went searching for the vaporizer and a bottle of Vicks. I found the vaporizer but not the Vicks, so I said to my wife, "There’s no Vicks." Mistake number one.

"It’s with the vaporizer."

I knew where this exchange was headed. Nevertheless, I went back, looked again and concluded, "There’s no Vicks."

To which she responded, "It’s with the vaporizer." How did I know she was going to say that?

Again, I went back, looked in the closet, on the stairs, under the sofa and returned to my wife, but before I could say anything, she stormed into the room, looked in the closet, on the stairs and under the sofa – by now I was thinking I might actually win the match by a point.

But then, with the dexterity of Houdini whipping a scarf off a top hat to pull out a rabbit, she pulled a jacket off a door knob to reveal a plastic bag, which she tore open to uncover … voila … Vicks!

Absolutely amazing. How does she do that?

Then came the coup de grace. She looked at me and sneered, "You can’t find anything."

Guilty as charged. It’s the curse of my life. I can’t find anything, almonds in the pantry, mustard in the refrigerator, floss in the medicine cabinet, stamps in the drawer.

Now, you know why I had such sympathy for the poor guy on the phone. And after serious consideration, I have to conclude that Jesus was referring to spiritual matters when he said, "Seek and you find …," and not the vaporizer.

J.F. Pisani is a writer who lives with his family in the New Haven area.