I gave my beloved grandma mittens for the Nativity. She once complained to me that her hands were almost frozen stiff from the severe Siberian frosts. In her age the blood circulation in the body is poorer, so I bought her a pair of beautiful, furry, white and very warm mittens. We called her up on our return home. It was on the feast of St. Seraphim of Sarov. She was travelling from church after the festive service. By the sounds I could hear I determined that she had just gotten off the bus. The conversation proceeded as usual—we were talking of current affairs. But then I suddenly heard her melodious voice:
“Oh, where are my mittens??? Alena, I’ve lost my mittens!!!”
“Look, maybe you lost it on your way.” (I tried to reassure her. But my grandmother continued to lament).
“Oh, Alena, I’ve lost it.”
“Don't be upset! Never mind—I'll buy you a new pair.”
“You don’t say so!...”
“Well, apparently you’ve left them behind in the church. When you come back, your friends will help you find them.”
“No, I rode on the bus in them... Oh, how can it be? What nice mittens they were!.. I'll go and see if they’re lying at the bus stop.
She went back without hanging up, panting, sighing and lamenting so pitifully all the time: “What mittens they were, what mittens!...” She got there, complaining as she searched, “How could it be? What mittens they were, Alena!”
As I listened to her laments, I understood that now she wouldn’t hear me—no words of consolation, no promises to buy similar mittens. And our dialogue was ridiculous. She was seemingly listening to me, but, without stopping her search, she kept speaking to me, lamenting: “Alena, Alena! How could it happen? How could I lose them?!”
She was obviously not listening to me, realizing that I could do nothing on the other end of the line. How could I help her in such distress? My gift was dear to her, warming not only her old, work-worn hands, but also her loving heart. After all, this gift was from her beloved granddaughter. And, realizing that I was talking in vain, I calmed down and recalled my own story when I lost my mittens in the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra.
Once my family and I went to the Lavra. We walked after the service and returned to the monastery hotel to discover that one of my mittens was missing. They were dear to me and I liked them very much. I got upset. The weather was frosty, and everything in the mall was very expensive. So my husband and I had to go out in the evening in search of my mitten. We traced all our tracks, checked all the corners, looked everywhere around, but couldn’t find the mitten anywhere. Although I had just lost it, it seemed to have disappeared altogether. But who needs just one mitten and not two? Just like my grandmother, I lamented as I walked: “How good and warm the mitten was! O holy Father Sergius, it is lying somewhere, and nobody needs it except me. I so want to find it. Help me!” Just when I was having this thought, I felt as if someone turned me in the opposite direction, and, surprising my bewildered husband, with a clear awareness of the right decision I returned to the arch of the main gate. And under the full-length fresco of St. Sergius, right beneath his feet, my lonely mitten lay. But we had been there more than once, examining all the areas!
Returning from my memories to reality, without saying anything to my grandmother and just listening to her complaints during her search, I prayed quietly: “Father Seraphim, help my grandmother find her mitten just as St. Sergius helped me find mine.” And then I heard on the other end of the line:
“Alena!!! Goodness me!!! The mitten has fallen from above!”
“Grandma, how is that—from above?”
“My God, ah-ah! How scary it is, O Lord!”
“Grandma, how is that—from above?”
“From above... Where could it fall from? From the sky, right? My God, Alena, how can it be?”
When she got home, she could not calm down for a long time, trying to figure out how the mitten could fall from the sky. She sat down in an arm-chair, and to my question, “Grandma, what are you doing?”, she answered: “I’m sitting... But how has the mitten fallen from the sky? Imagine that, Alena! And they say there is no God...”
P.S. When I shared this story with my husband, he was surprised by only one thing, exclaiming indignantly: “Was it too difficult for you to pray harder when I forgot my mittens in a taxi?”
I only threw up my hands.