Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Longest Five Minutes of My Life

The scene: Chenal Valley COC 20 Year Homecoming. We had a special breakfast in the Family Life Center and our life group was cleaning up after breakfast. I went down to the church and dropped off Reese in the nursery. We were early, so he was the only one there so far. I went back up to the FLC, cleaned up, and we all headed back to the church for the service. I stopped by the nursery and peeked in the small window to see what Reese was doing. I couldn't see him so I went to the front door, looked around and still didn't see my little guy. I asked the nursery worker (a different lady than the one I dropped him off with) where he was.

"Reese was never dropped off this morning"

"Yes, he was. I'm his MOM and I dropped him off about 20 minutes ago."

".....when we got here it was pitch black and the door was closed."

I'm somewhat suprised I didn't pass out right then and there. A million thoughts started to race thru my head and I felt dizzy. "I didn't recognize that lady I dropped him off with...there was no one else here...there are a lot of visitors here..." Somehow my legs carried me and I ran into the auditorium to tell Reed that Reese was missing. The auditorium was so packed that our life group was all standing in the back. I saw the look of horror on Reed's face as I told him what the nursery worker had told me and everyone started looking for him. I lost all emotional control and my girlfriends tried to get me to sit down and tell them what the lady looked like. I couldn't remember. All I could think of was that someone had pretended to be a nursery volunteer and decided to take the first kid who came in. We were about the call the police. FINALLY, Aaron came to the lobby and told me that they had him. Looking ridiculous I'm sure, I (in all my pregnantness) ran across the auditorium in front of a crowd waiting for communion, swept up my baby and left the room.

Apparently, there was confusion over wheter the nursery was open or not. So after I dropped off Reese, they closed the nursery and someone just took him into church with them. Then the scheduled nursery workers showed up and reopened the nursery. Too much confusion, too little communication. We just had to go home after that to recover and let the adrenaline simmer down. The rest of the day I kept replaying the scenario in my mind and feeling the horrific emotions of not knowing where my child was. As the title implies, it was the longest five minutes of my life! It was the scariest thing I have experienced as a parent. I've been with him when he was really sick and in the ER, and I was scared. But I was with him, and I could comfort him, and I KNEW WHERE HE WAS. With his mommy! There is nothing like the feeling of not knowing where your child is, even if it just is a brief moment. What if I never saw him again? I couldn't protect him.

As we recovered from the incident, we went home and just watched a movie with Reese on the couch. I remember thinking how glad I was we were hanging out at home rather than at the police station telling someone what happened. Reese sure got spoiled that day but I couldn't stop giving him hugs and kisses and telling him how much I love him.

After small groups that night, Reed and I reflected on the whole experience. I was talking to him about how there is nothing like the love that a parent has for a child and I imagine that must be like the love that God has for us, His children.

Reed responded with this: "Let me put it this way. I hope I will always love you. But I know I will always love Reese. He may do things that make me mad or disapointed, but nothing could make me stop loving him" I wasn't offended by this because I understand what he meant. Then he said, "Imagine how God must feel when we get "lost."

Does He cry like a grieving mother? Does He search for us when we don't even know He is pursuing us? Does He worry if we will make it back?

Because He loves us THAT much.