Thursday, June 22, 2006

Ellen on losing Josiah at Target

We lost Josiah at Target. He was only lost for five or ten minutes (if even that), but it was frightening. Al took Josiah to the bathroom and when they came out Josiah said, "I'll find Mommy!" and ran off. Al found me and we looked around the area we were in for a few minutes without any luck. After what was probably about two minutes, but felt longer, I rushed to the customer service desk while Al kept looking in another part of the store.

I was embarrassed to tell the clerk that we had lost our four-year old, but I reasoned that if someone kidnapped him I would spend the rest of my life wondering why I didn't tell the customer service representative sooner. So they announced a missing child alert over their walky-talkies and I had to tell a security guard what Josiah was wearing. As the guard was in the process of notifying store personnel that a child with a blue Mickey Mouse shirt and black and white shoes that light up was missing, Al walked over holding Josiah.

I was relieved to have found Josiah, but I worried about future incidents. So I tried to tell Josiah what he should do when he is lost. "Don't wander around looking for Mommy or Papa. Stay in one place. Find someone behind a counter or who is wearing a name tag." Josiah listened for a minute and looked at the people behind the counter. Then he said, "Mommy, I have a question," (which is Josiah's way of saying, "Can I talk now?"). "I wasn't lost. You were lost, Mommy. I could not find you!"

Josiah says the same thing each time we talk about being lost. "But Mommy, I wasn't lost. You were lost." It's cute, but it's also very frustrating. I want to make sure he knows what to do if he ever gets lost again, but if he can't even admit or understand that he is lost, will he do the things he knows lost people should do?

I wonder how often I say the same thing to God, "I'm not lost, God. You're lost. I can't find you!" Perhaps God smiles and says, "No, I'm not lost. I know where I am and I even know where you are. But because you cannot admit that you are lost and won't do the things I've taught you, it is hard for you to find me."

I hope we never lose either of our children again, but if we do (and somehow I think it is almost certain that we will), I hope they will admit they are lost and remember what we have taught them to do. Similarly, I hope that when I am feeling lost and alone, that I will remember seek God instead of blaming him. And its possible that the best way to for me to seek God will be to rest in one spot awhile and maybe even look for someone who works for God ("behind the counter") to ask for help.

2 comments:

Craver VII said...

Wow, that was great! Amen.

Unfortunately, I can identify with that horrible panicky feeling associated with losing a child. I have been so tempted to tell my wife, "You're over-reacting." But awful tragedies permeate every day's news.

I'm so glad things turned out well!

Psalm 46..."Be still and know that I am God..."

Stacey said...

Ellen, what an awesome example of the Lord being the perfect Father waiting for us. Thanks for the reminder - I needed it!