She’s almost all grown up. But I still worry. And each time I do, she reminds me not to. Really, I should know better by now. Forgive me if you’ve already heard this story, but here’s the reason why. Almost 13 years ago, I got the call I had always feared.
She was five years old and they didn’t know where she was.
As I drove to her school, all I thought was “if only”, and “what if”. In between I screamed and prayed for me. Then I cried and prayed for her.
I begged God to bring her back to me, to protect her. I was so frightened. My prayer became my breath. Without it, I was afraid I would not make it. I feared the worst.
As I approached the school, every car and every closed door seemed suspicious. It was overwhelming. There were too many places where she could be. It was hopeless. She was gone.
Turning the corner to the school only confirmed my fears. I saw the police on foot, in cars and on motorcycles patrolling the streets and securing the perimeter. I saw the neighborhood children huddled together, looking for a way to help, while probably also questioning their own safety.
But worst of all, I saw my husband calling for her. This was my husband looking for my child. It didn’t make sense. By then, she had been missing for at least 45 minutes. Everything that I knew to be true, told me to expect the worst.
At that moment, I heard it. “We found her!” Thank you, God! I got to feel her, and see her, and hear her again! What a gift. Just minutes before, I thought I had lost my child forever.
That day changed everything.
At first, I became painfully aware of how vulnerable we are. How much we should appreciate what we have before it’s gone. That is true.
But along with that, I learned that just because I feel it; just because I think it; just because I believe it to be true, does not make it so.
I learned that there is so much more going on than what we can perceive. We believe this is reality. If you had asked me what was true that day while driving to her school, I would have told you the unthinkable. But instead, what was true was nothing more than a fiercely competitive 5-year-old playing an innocent game of hide and seek.
I see now so plainly, that what we feel is a direct consequence of what we think. So much of our reality is driven by our expectations for the future, as a result of our interpretations of the past.
For so many of us, we do not trust happiness. We are only quietly waiting for the other shoe to drop.
I have heard it said that what we fear is what we believe we deserve.
We expect the other shoe to drop because we secretly believe that we deserve failure, or loss or pain. We believe we deserve it because we have all done or experienced something in our past for which we believe we are guilty. The fear is that we will get what we deserve.
Sometimes we forget that payday can mean love and mercy instead of the suffering and loss that we might expect. Thank Goodness for that. Even after all these years, I am reminded of the power of faith in the face of fear. So, no worries. In that, I pray that you, me and she get exactly what we deserve.