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While getting out of the house most mornings, I used to put my coffee cup on my vehicle roof, saying aloud, “I won’t forget my coffee.”

Inevitably, my daughter had to remind me. Leaving coffee on the roof of a car is one of those silly, cliched things — because many of us have done it.

It’s not necessarily a neglectful action. We get distracted — talking and in a hurry to get where we’re going.

When it’s a cup of coffee, the result can be messy and annoying. If it’s something like a mobile phone or important work documents, the consequences are costly and inconvenient.

Sometimes, the mistake appears irreparable.

On Mother’s Day, Frank Kressley of Cedar Falls was in the process of leaving the Independence home of his sister, Barbara Nichols. As they loaded into the car, Frank placed his Bible on the roof for safekeeping.

Once they got underway, Frank realized he couldn’t find his Bible. Barbara noted the last she had seen of it was when he put it on the car roof.

Simultaneously, the two realized what had happened. They backtracked over their route but couldn’t find the Bible.

Frank feared the cherished Bible was lost. It had been new — only in Frank’s possession for a few months.

The Bible was an important symbol of his return to the Cedar Valley. He received the Bible shortly after moving from California to Cedar Falls, from a member of Trinity Bible Church. When the family friend learned Frank didn’t have a Bible, he promptly gave him one.

As a result, Frank felt its loss deeply. He and Barbara prayed the Bible would be found.

“I never had (a Bible) so nice,” he explains. “It has all the tabs, marking all the chapters, a cover to protect it … just so nice.”

After nearly a week, Robert Kressley of Cedar Falls received a call from the Independence Police Department. He was nonplussed because Frank hadn’t told his older brother he lost the Bible.

Apparently, an anonymous good Samaritan found a 1996 photo of Frank and younger brother, John, inside the Bible. The photo had been taken at their parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.

The photo was led to contact with Robert. Once he figured out what had happened, Robert asked Independence Police to return the Bible to Barbara. She conveyed it to Frank via younger sister, Beth Adams of Waterloo — but not before writing Frank’s name and number inside, along with Robert’s and her own for good measure.

Despite its fall from a moving vehicle and circuitous return, the Bible remains in good shape. A leather cover, now ruined, provided protection.

Independence Police Chief Dustin Dallenbach told me his officers regularly return lost items. He didn’t specifically recall Frank’s Bible.

Frank learned his lesson.

“’ll be more careful from now on, that’s for sure,” he says. “I’m not going to put it on top of the car anymore!”

He’d like to talk to the person who was thoughtful enough to return the Bible found somewhere along a road between Independence and Cedar Falls.

“I want to give them a reward and just say, ‘Thank you so much,’” says Frank. “God answers prayers. I prayed about it every day. To find it — and it’s not ruined — I almost can’t believe it.”

Karris Golden writes The Courier’s weekly faith and values column. Email her at onfaith@karrisgolden.com.

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