2nd Installment of The Lost Sheep
Ok, the kids are loaded up. I went back in the house and called for Michael. No answer. Here we go again... Up the stairs. Would you believe, I lost the lamb again! He was no where to be found. Neither was his backpack, shoes, the works- all missing!
This little lamb was not going to follow 'Mary' to school, today.
I decided I had better take Daniel. He had been waiting to go, and he didn't want to miss anymore of the school morning. At this point, he was already an hour late. As I left, I yelled through the air, "Michael please be ready by the time I get back home!" hoping the sound waves would carry to him, wherever he was. Then I called Dear Dad to fill him in on the missing child situation.
We arrived in the front office and I state, "Well, here's Daniel, I don't know exactly know where Michael is." The office staff answers back, "You're kidding, right."
"Well, I think he is in my house, the last time I checked, he was getting ready." We then had some caring dialog about this lost sheep which ended with the secretary saying, "Well, he'll have to use the bathroom eventually!" And I thought, 'Yes, we've got something going for us there' :) .
(This lost sheep of mine struggles with his colon, and the medicine he is on right now does NOT help his behaviors.)
On the drive back home, I began to second guess my decision to leave the house. What if he ran away while I was gone. Would he come back. Then thought, 'Of course he would come back, he's a kid; kids always come back, right?'
We pulled into the driveway, and I tell my 'littles' not to unbuckle just yet; incase Michael is ready. Inside I go, wondering. Wondering, 'Will he be here? Will he be ready? Will I find him?'
No luck on the quick find. I go back outside, and begin to haul the little ones in. Once we were all in and settled, I called for Michael again, no answer. I decided to leave the situation alone for a few moments, thinking he had to be in the house. Besides, I needed to figure out a better way to coax him out of hiding. As I swept up the mess of cereal and chocolate Nesquick that Vincent made during the Michael hunt, I thought of another tactic. I went upstairs with a prayer in my heart, and called again, "Michael, we need to talk, please come out." I continued to look around. Nothing, no Michael. How long do I wait before I have to search the neighborhood?
I beckon again, calmly going through each room, "Michael, please come out. I'm not going to hurt you. I love you and I forgive you." The third room I come to, I hear a stirring. I stop, listen, then repeat, "I love you, Michael, please come out." More stirring comes from under the bed. He was hiding in between two storage containers. Out he crawled, followed by him dragging out his shoes, backpack, and extra clothes.
We embraced, and talked. Since a significant amount of time had passed, I called the school to tell them I had found the lost sheep and would be bringing him up shortly. (Only 2 hours late).
This story, brings me to a greater understanding of the Parable of the Lost Sheep (Matthew 18:10-14). Our Father does not want any of us to be lost. We hide in shame, when we feel like we can not be forgiven; and only come out when we trust in Love. Oh what I learn from the example of a child...No matter what our sin, we should not be afraid and hide it; rather expose ourselves, for Jesus already took care of our shame by His crucifixion. His suffering with the pain of the cross was easier for Him to go through, than it was to watch with compassion the suffering consequences of our sin. With love and pity, He suffered to gain our eternal embrace.
How can we follow Jesus' example? By offering our everyday challenges with love and pity for others, so that we may all enjoy the embrace. Today, I re-learned that when people are shown punishment, they hide more; and when they are shown mercy and love, people change!
God hears our cries for help. On the initial road of Calvary, Jesus had help. As I think back on this ordinary cross of mine, I thank God for the help he puts in my life. I called my mom after I got Michael up to school, and asked her to say a prayer for us. I began to joyfully clean up the ordinary messes which cluttered our 'road'. Then I heard a knock on my door. I opened it, and the lady on the other side stated, "I've got an hour, put me to work!" What, did I just hear? Really? I gave her a big hug. We talked and cleaned, and she left. And I was blessed by the Lord.