Lost and Found

Have you ever been trying to find, perhaps with some urgency, a misplaced item and found something else you had thought was lost forever? These discoveries, being reunited with a forgotten item, are moments of joy, brief as they may be, interrupted by the necessity of getting back to finding your keys.

Looking for one thing and finding something else.

It happens time and again.

There is a profound lesson regarding the interconnectedness of experience in losing and finding, in being re-united with a lost item or a lost relationship.

There was a story this week about two sets of identical twin brothers from Bogota separated and inadvertently switched at birth and amazingly raised as fraternal twins (with the identical twin of the other brother) who each were re-united with their identical twins. Said one of the twins: “It was like staring through a mirror, and on the other side of the mirror, there’s a parallel universe.” In this instance, there were two parallel universes. [Click here to read the article about the twin brothers from Bogota]

Finding a brother (your identical twin) you didn’t even know you lost.

Lost and found extends to the discovery of what has been obscured from awareness, purposely hidden or sealed from discovery.

Judges can exercise their power to unseal documents that allow people, many years later, to recover a deep loss. U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno may have not intended to aid the cause of women seeking justice for rape or sexual abuse at the hands of Bill Cosby. In unsealing Mr. Cosby’s prior testimony though, they found support in Mr. Cosby’s “hidden” admission many years ago about his method of drugging women and violating their trust.

In an unrelated case, U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein unsealed testimony of David Greenglass from 1950 regarding the espionage case against Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. The Rosenberg’s son, Robert Meeropol noted that his Uncle David’s testimony was the lynchpin to the prosecution’s case against his parents and that his Uncle had recanted years later that it was his wife Ruth, not his sister Ethel, who typed up the notes that were passed to the Soviets. The unsealed documents give credence to this claim. Robert Meeropol lost both his parents. He has now found proof to clear his mother’s name.

I mentioned in a blog a few weeks ago (“Strange Fruit”) that the song, sung by Billie Holiday, was written by Abel Meeropol. I learned of the song from watching Billy Crystal’s one-man play “Seven Hundred Sundays” (Billy’s Uncle recorded Billie Holiday’s rendition of Strange Fruit) and reading about the song’s history learned that its’ author was Abel Meeropol. I was struck by the name Abel—the namesake of the first person murdered in the Bible narrative. Abel wrote “Strange Fruit” in response to the lynching-murder of two black men in Marion, Indiana. Many years later, there were two boys who had lost their parents and no one was willing to adopt them until Abel Meeropol and his wife Anne raise them as their children. That is how Robert Rosenberg, son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, became a Meeropol.

Loss and death, however bewildering, produces its own unexpected fruit, the twists and turns of loss come to unexpected fruition. Anne and Abel Meeropol suffered two miscarriages. I don’t know if carrying the namesake of Abel or his own profound loss inspired his thoughts and actions. Those two pre-natal losses found expression in Abel championing the cause of two young black men, murdered without a fair trial as to their guilt or innocence and two young boys bereft of their parents who, now revealed, may also have been victims of an unfair trial.

Looking for one thing and finding something else.


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