I had quite a scare yesterday...
There's a park here in town that has activities for kids and then free lunches. I try to take the kids every once in awhile. It's also right by a library. Yesterday I took the kids to the library and then I let them play on the playground until lunch time. There are, of course tons of kids milling around.
When it was getting time to round up the kids for lunch I could not find Anthony. I looked all over the playground, and then I went to the area where they were doing activities and couldn't find him. Then I thought that maybe he had saw all the people starting to line up for lunch and decided to join them. I looked over there and still no Anthony. At this point I was really starting to worry. At this point I decided to get some help; so I talked to the lady who was in charge of the activities and lunch. I gave her a description of Anthony and she announced it on a bullhorn she has. It just so happened that today there were some Firemen there to help pass out the lunches and I talked to them and they all fanned out looking for him. I was really getting upset. It was a horrible feeling! I was afraid that someone saw him wander off and taken him. It wasn't too long and they found him at the craft shelter making a craft (I had looked there, but either I hadn't seen him in all the other kids, or he had shown up after I looked). I was so relieved to have him found that I lifted him up in my arms and cried. I was so thankful! You can believe that I will be keeping a closer eye on all my kids next time I go to the park with them.
There are two things that I really thought about through this. I thought about all the other people who have went through losing their child. Only there are so many who never find them. I only got a small taste of what they have to go through. It really made me more aware of what they go through.
Another thing that happened was I had told the kids that I was gathering them up to get in line for lunch, but when I couldn't find Anthony I told them we weren't eating lunch until he was found (of course!). In their little minds they just knew that they were hungry. I told them that finding Anthony was the most important thing right then. Ruby told me that when I said that, it made her feel like maybe she wasn't important. I told her that if she was missing then finding her would be the most important thing.
It wasn't until later when the excitement had died down for me that I thought of the parable about the one sheep that was lost and how the Shepherd left the ninety-nine to go and look for it. That was how I felt. It wasn't like I didn't care about my other children, but I knew they were safe; so all my focus was on looking for the one. I didn't leave my other children, of course, but the message is the same. It really made me think about how the Lord feels when we are lost. He must be devastated. I know when we hear or know brethren that have strayed and we are sad about it; but that cannot compare to how the Lord feels. Also, if they never come back we begin to forget about them, or at least only think about them every once in awhile. If I had not found Anthony I can't imagine that I would ever stop thinking about him and hoping and wishing that we could find him again.
I then thought about if one of my siblings got lost and was never found I would still want to find them; and would keep trying to get them back. It wouldn't be the same as what a Mother or Father would feel, but I would still be working to get them back. I think in the Faith too many times I look at those who have strayed as hopeless, or that I really can't do anything. Or sometimes I think that if they really wanted to come back they know where to find us, they could come back on their own. That's not to say I don't feel sad and wished that those I know would come back to the Faith. What I'm trying to say is I really don't do anything to try to help them find their way again. The brethren are my family. They are all my Sisters, Brothers, Mothers, Fathers. If they are lost I should be looking for ways to help them come back; because that's what I would do for my real Sisters, Brothers, Mothers and Fathers.
I'm not glad that I lost Anthony for that small amount of time, but I'm glad for the lessons to be learned through the experience. I know this was a really small thing, and the bad part didn't really last that long; but so many times when we go through bad things it seems like there are important messages that God wants us to learn. I only hope I truly learn them and follow them; so I don't have to go through a similar experience again.