Sometimes you’ll find the path forward leads you to where you stand today. Yep, a bit heavy on the philosophical phrasing, but true nonetheless. Actually, it’s such a truth that it can even happen to the things we carry around with us, the inanimate objects of our everyday life. Inevitably, some of our daily use items will end up misplaced, briefly mourned then either replaced or forgotten. Then there is the odd chance that the thing you’ve lost will some day, some how come looking for you.

Meet Mike Lawler and his fancy Zippo lighter. In 1952, he was a Sophomore at the University of Missouri and pledge of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity. His Zippo stood out being that it was emblazoned with his fraternity’s coat of arms, engraved with his name and “U. of Missouri ’54.” Mike’s penchant for highly personalized decoration was fortunate, but he didn’t likely see it as such when he lost his lighter later than year.

In the decades following their unintended separation, Mike had a family and a career out in California. After visiting his alma mater one year for Homecoming, Mike fell back in love with his college town and returned to Columbia, Missouri in retirement. Alternately, his Zippo mysteriously meandered it’s way into a private collection in New Hampshire. Until one day it’s then-owner, suddenly spurred by a notion to make things right, launched a return-to-owner effort which saw Mike and his Zippo reunited once again with a mere 64 years having passed.

Your take-away, dear reader, is that nothing is ever truly lost, it’s just found by someone else. In the absence of the item itself, you’re justified in finding hope it will someday return.

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