The amazing feeling of once being lost but then being found
My kids were aged three and five. It was a beautiful summer day and they were playing together on the backyard swing set.
I sat on the back deck, reading a book while keeping an eye on them. I went inside to get us all a drink and when I returned they weren’t in the backyard.
No worries. I walked through the house to the front door, expecting to see them in the front yard.
They weren’t in the front yard.
I stepped out of the front door and walked over the driveway to the right side of the house.
I circled the entire house, calling their names.
I re-entered our house, yelling their names.
They were nowhere.
Starting to panic, I grabbed my cell phone and dialed 9–1.
I held my finger over the last 1 to call if one last sweep of the yard did not find them.
As I rounded the final corner, screaming their names, they popped out of my neighbour’s front door.
A flood of relief overwhelmed me. I dropped my phone and ran over to them, got down on my knees, and gave them each a bear hug.
Then I swiftly admonished them for leaving our yard without telling me. They explained that they saw a cat and followed it to the neighbour’s.
The short minutes that they were missing were agonizing for me. All kinds of horrific scenarios ran through my mind.
Although it was many years ago, I still remember the panic and fear that propelled me to run around the house screaming for them.
And then the immense relief and profound solace when I found them.
It reminded me of a time — long before I had children — when I went off on a wilderness hike on my own.
I often hiked alone and was cautious to bring water, walking poles, and a bell that rang with every step to ward off bears.
But this day I somehow lost my way. The path no longer looked familiar. The terrain appeared different.
Did I take a wrong turn somewhere?
This was in the days before mobile phones. I had no one to call and no way to alert anyone that I was lost.
The sky above started to darken as dusk descended slowly.
I tried to stay calm but with each step I felt like I was going deeper into the woods.
I decided to veer left and take a pencil-thin trail that led up the side of a rocky cliff. Once at the top, I stopped to take a drink and survey my surroundings.
I recognized a stone cottage in the distance. Oh, I knew where I was! And I knew exactly how to get back on the right trail to take me back home.
My relief was palpable. Joy filled my heart. My legs gained their strength back as I returned to breathing normally.
I made it back home before the pitch of nighttime.
But neither of these lost-and-found stories compare with the awesome feeling I had pulling myself out of the warm waters of the baptismal tank.
Overcome with such incredible relief and joy it bubbled up inside me and spilled out in laughter.
I wanted to dance and sing as the old hymn by John Newton, Amazing Grace, ran through my mind.
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
Oh, I once was lost
But now I am found
Was blind but now I see
There is no feeling in the world that can match the joy of being saved.