“…to him who is able to do far beyond all that we could ask or imagine…” Ephesians 3:20
It seemed like just another beautiful day that afternoon when my cell phone showed a call coming in from my son-in-law, Sean.
“I need your help.” The apprehension in his voice was heard above the road noise in the van as I was driving home from an appointment.
“What’s going on?”
Sean, weakly, “I can’t find Jack,” his and our daughter’s five-year-old.
“I’m in town, I’ll be there in fifteen minutes,” immediately regretting having chosen the longer scenic route home on gravel roads. Then I remembered the bridge was out on the road to their house from where I was, wasting more precious minutes.
Concentrating on staying on the road at 70 mph helped keep thoughts of the worst from getting into my head: they have three ponds/Sean has been looking for an hour/Jack lost his shoe in the pond mud a couple of weeks ago.
I mentally scanned my phone contact list to call for help in the search for Jack and discovered I didn’t have the number of my policeman neighbor who might be just getting home. When I drove past our neighbors’ who have three teen boys, I thought, “If I can see them outside down their LONG driveway, I’ll stop and pick them up.” Sliding on loose gravel rounding the 90 degree curve just before their place, I managed a quick look. No one.
An eternal four minutes later at Sean’s, I called him to ask where he was on their twelve acres. He’d been down by the big pond about 3/4 of a mile away earlier. “I’m north of the house.” He must’ve been running.
“What do you want me to do?”
“I don’t know.”
“I’ll drive to where you are.” In my rear view mirror, I noticed that Jack’s seven-year-old brother, Shannon, burst out of the house with his bicycle helmet on, jump on his little green bike and head down the driveway. I turned around and caught up to him going south on their road. “Where are you going?”
“We can’t find Jack. And I’m going to find Papa.”
“Papa’s that way,” I gestured in the opposite direction. “Put your bike in the ditch and get in.” We headed north and I was met by a car that stopped at my approach.
A middle-aged man shouted to me through his open window, “We found him! He’s at our house, fine but shaken up. Can you call Sean? I can’t find the paper I had with his number on it. Follow me to my house.”
I fumbled for my phone, redialed. “He’s been found!!!!!!!!!”
“Who..where was he?”
“At a neighbor’s, down the road….”
The neighbor man turned around and headed home. It hit me that I needed to get Sean, let him drive and I should stay at the house, since two younger siblings were napping, and would be waking soon.
As I pulled into the driveway, Sean came running toward us. “You drive,” I hollered as he approached, “I’ll stay with the kids.” But as soon as he reached the van he burst into shoulder-heaving sobs.
Seeing that he couldn’t drive, I opened the side door for him to get into the back beside Shannon, who by then was sobbing too. As I sped toward the neighbor’s house, Sean managed, “Slow down …. so we don’t scare him.”
As we crested the hill, we became part of this hoped-for-happy-ending scene:
Down the road on the next hill was a man standing beside his car in the middle of the road, front door open. About 20 yards in front of him strolling down the hill toward us was a woman holding the hand of a little boy, and a dog trotting alongside. Like it was just another beautiful day.
As we pan out from the scene, we see a van with all of its doors open, all of its occupants running toward the little boy with the dog. There is a lot of hugging. Then after a bit, five teary-eyed people hold hands and bow their heads, there in the middle of the road.
Zooming back in, we thank the just-met neighbors, climb into the van and head home to hold, hug, sigh and savor. Because it wasn’t just another beautiful day.
It was far beyond.
by Connie Hoogeveen