Sunday, March 11, 2012
Once, when Oldest Son was eighteen months old, we lost him.
Husband had him out on the farm doing cattle work and I decided to hop in the shower. No sooner had I gotten myself good and wet, then I heard my toddler yelling my name. I knew he was with his dad though, so rather than getting out of the shower and answering him, I ignored his little call. When I got out, Husband was in the house and I asked him where O.S. was. He said that he'd sent him in here with me about ten minutes ago. We searched the house but no O.S. Anyone who knows me, knows I'm a panicker. He was so little and helpless. My legs were jello and I felt like I was going to puke. We lived on a big farm that's bordered by two rivers. The worst case scenarios immediately played out in my head. But I did have the sense to kneel down and pray. I specifically remember saying to my Heavenly Father, "I can't see him, but you can. Help me find him."
We split up, searching outside, though we didn't know how O.S. had gotten past Husband without him noticing. He was nowhere in sight. And I had a thought. Call his name. It seemed ridiculous. This child could barely talk. I was positive he wouldn't know that if I called his name, he should answer back with a yell. But I felt it again, so I started calling. There were cows in the field and every time I would yell, they would moo back in masse. So frustrating. But after a half dozen times, I thought I heard a little voice crying, "Mommy." Husband heard it too. It only took a minute to realize O.S. had walked all the way up the drive, turned right and was headed to his grandparent's house up on the hill. It's quite the hike for a toddler. But he couldn't find us, so he was going to find the next best adults.
I made myself a promise that day--that I would never ignore my kids if they needed me, even if I thought the situation was under control. And I've kept that promise ever since.
But what happens when your kids grow up and go off to big adventures of their own?
I had the opportunity to experience that this weekend. O.S., now a deacon, and a full-fledged scout, went on a campout. He, three other scouts, and three leaders (including Husband) were going to hike ten miles on the Appalachian Trail. It's something they do every year as a precursor to their big fifty miler every spring. I was stoked for him to go. We've raised him up on hiking and now was a chance for him to show his stuff.
I had a premonition that somebody was going to get lost on this outing, but I felt like O.S. would be perfectly fine. He was with Husband, The Mountain Man, after all.
And then they didn't return when they were supposed to.
They were late. Like really late. Then I got a phone call that O.S. was fine, as was Husband, but two of the leaders and one of the boys was lost, and could I please bring some of our walkie-talkies when I came to pick O.S. up. I didn't even ask if Husband was staying up on the AT to help look. I already knew. He's just that kind of person. One of the guys returning to search joked that I didn't even want to sent Husband a message. I told him, "If I had to be stuck out in the dark, on a mountain, with anyone, I'd want it to be Husband. He'll be just fine." Those guys looked until 3 o'clock this morning, went home, slept until 7 and then headed back out. Never once was I seriously worried for the ones missing, and it's not because I don't care about them. I do. But I knew that Heavenly Father knew exactly where there were and he was watching over them. This morning when I got up to get the kids ready for church, I was in the kitchen prepping our big dinner for later today and I got the best feeling that those guys out on the AT were fine. I knew it.
Sure enough, we were sitting in Ward Council discussing what we could to do help reactive those on our roster who've gone inactive, when everyones' cell phones started ringing. They'd found the lost hikers and they'd be home in 25 minutes.
My heart is so full basically because I belong to a church where we care about one another. We go out looking for those who are lost and we don't stop until we find them. And then when they are safe, we go home, shower, shave and show up to partake of the sacrament and fulfill our callings, even if we only slept three hours last night.
As we sang Nearer My God to Thee in sacrament meeting, we'd just finished the line, "Though like the Wanderer, The sun gone down. Darkness be over me, My rest a stone." Husband leaned over and said, "Just like last night." I've never appreciated the sacrament, or my Savior more than I did today.
I hope those who were hiking know that I think the world of all them--lost or not. More importantly, I know that Heavenly Father loves us, no matter where we are, or what we are doing. He is watching, caring and concerned. And because we love each other, serve and watch over each other, He blesses us even more.
And I am grateful for the reminder.
Posted by Susan at 10:10 PM