By Faye Michelson
It's worth celebrating when the lost has been found.
Trying to find the proverbial needle in a haystack sounds easy when compared to the case of a lost engagement ring in New York City.
British tourists John Drennan and Daniella Anthony were visiting Central Park last December when John dropped to one knee and proposed to his long-time girlfriend.
She said yes, and John completed the fairy-tale moment by slipping on a sparkly (but slightly too big) diamond engagement ring.
All was going well until they were walking in Times Square after taking in a show late on the same day. The loose ring slipped off Daniella's finger, bounced on the sidewalk and fell down a grate.
"I was devastated," she told the New York Post. "I was literally crying. It was the worst moment of my life."
John lay flat on the ground, peering into the grate trying to see where the ring had landed. The couple called police, with sympathetic officers prising the grate open with a crowbar in an attempt to retrieve it. After two hours of unsuccessful searching, the distressed couple, due to travel home the next day, left without filing a report because they believed the ring was gone.
But the NYPD hadn't closed the case and the following morning officers returned to the scene. Daylight made a difference; they found the ring about 2.5 metres underground after searching for about 15 minutes.
In a city with numerous grates, NYPD detective Joseph Bucchignano said police were involved in "plenty of these searches" with people losing items such as keys, phones and wallets.
"It's like finding a needle in a haystack; there was a lot of muck and a lot of just typical stuff that you find in the sewer grate down there," he said. "Fortunately, this has a good ending to it."
But the search didn't stop with finding the ring. The police then had to find its owners, who had not provided their details. The NYPD posted a tweet looking for the couple, accompanied by CCTV video showing John lying on his stomach peering through the grate with Daniella crouched beside him. Persistence – and more than 20,000 retweets – paid off. The engagement ring was reunited with its delighted owners, who promised to give the officers a special mention at their wedding.
This story is like a modern take on some of the parables (stories) Jesus told in the Bible to illustrate His teachings. The parable of the lost coin reinforces how valuable each one of us is to God. Jesus said, "Imagine a women who has 10 silver coins and loses one. Won't she light a lamp and scour the house, looking in every nook and cranny until she finds it? And when she finds it you can be sure she'll call her friends and neighbours: 'Celebrate with me! I found my lost coin!'" (Luke 15:8-9).
This little story emphasises that God never gives up on us; that the reason He sent Jesus was to bring people who are lost spiritually back into a relationship with Him.
Celebrations are in order when something valuable is found. And just as the people in the story rejoiced and celebrated with the woman when she found her lost coin, Jesus finished His story with, "That's the kind of party God's angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God." (Luke 15:10). •
This article first appeared in the *Salvation Army's Warcry magazine.