“Just think how happy you would be if you lost everything you have right now, and then got it back again.” ~ Frances Rodman
Let’s go back about five years.
It all happened so fast…
We had a camping trip planned with several families. A hot summer weekend to be spent at a local state park. Enjoying the trails, the lake, the s’mores, the friendships. Fun and relaxing. We’d go early, get setup, and have extra time to explore this park we’d never been to.
Setup done, some snacks in our bellies. Time to enjoy. Some of our friends were there. Kids ready to play together.
“Can we go biking?” they asked. Our two oldest children, about 7 and 5 years old at the time, ready to go with their friends.
“Sure. Just stick together.”
And off they went. Around a big loop in the campground. Separated from the rest of the park by fields and forest.
Pretty soon the boys came back. And one girl. Where was B? She must be right behind them. Not long and they came back again. And still, no B. Where was she? We stopped the kids and asked them.
“I don’t know, she was right behind us.”
“When did you see her last?”
“I don’t remember.”
We grabbed our friends, and began to look. She was nowhere to be found. We looked through the campground. Nothing. Nowhere.
And all of the sudden, this nice campground we were at seemed like a big, scary place. With too many places to get disappear.
I would take the car and head further out of the camp area to look. The others would find the camp host, and notify them of our lost daughter.
I jumped into the car and headed out of the camp area, toward the main entrance to the park. Roads in different directions. Trails leading into the woods. Trails leading to a swamp. No sign of her bike.
A terrible pit in my stomach. Could this really be happening. Does she know she’s loved? Is she safe? Where can she be? Did I go the right direction out of the camp area? Did she take a trail? Questions bounced through my head. My eyes peeled for any sign of her. While the pit in my stomach grew bigger.
I reached the main gate to the state park. About a mile from the camp area. Still, no sign of her. I jumped out of the car, and ran to talk to the park rangers in the office.
And there she was…
The most wonderful feeling in the world! She was found. She was safe! Joy. Pure joy. At finding what was lost. That which we treasure most – the love of another being. Lost, then found. All was right in the world. Forget crime, corruption, poverty, all the world’s ails. At that moment, everything was right!
She ran to me. I ran to her. Tears in her eyes. Tears in my eyes. A big hug. The best hug in the world! A hug, that a few minutes earlier, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever get again.
“Is this your daughter?” the ranger asked.
“Do you have some identification? And, when is her birthday?” he asked, looking for proof that I was indeed her father.
My wallet, did I have it along? Yes. But, when was her birthday? Too many thoughts bouncing around in my head. I can’t think straight. It’s January, but why can’t I remember the date. I’ve got to get this question right. They can’t take her away from me, now that I’ve found her. What is the date? Think!
Having found that which mattered more than dates, more than a camping weekend away, more than life itself..having found her…nothing else mattererd. At that moment, all else was forgotten.
And then, I remembered. Slowly, it all came back to me. Dates no longer lost. She could come “home” with me. Her bike loaded into the car, down the road we went. Shortly down the mile drive back to the camp area, we met my wife and our friends coming toward the park office. We stopped. B, with tears still in her eyes, seeing Mom.
“I got a sucker.”
All was right in the world.
At this moment, all was right.