I wrote this in 2005 when we lived in Kissimmee, FL. David is married now and out on his own. Jon is still wandering….
Jonathan wandered off again this evening. It always happens when we’re busy and focused on something else, a phone call, project or work in the house or outside. First he’s there and then suddenly he’s gone. I fail to understand how a person who, most of the time, moves slower than a snail, can disappear so fast.
We did the customary searching in the usual places and when he didn’t show up, called the police. The search helicopter eventually spotted him walking around in the eight hundred plus home sub-division, which faces our back property line with a long and tall white vinyl fence that we have annoyingly named ‘The Great Wall of China’. We are privileged to view this glaring white reminder of growth and development in Central Florida where trees and thick jungle flora once thrived. Jon must have somehow crossed the drainage ditch, full of water from recent rains that extends between the two properties, to get over there because he was covered with mud. If only he would dedicate his determination to more useful purposes.
In the middle of all this confusion, one of the three police officers who came to the search party, drove her patrol car off the edge of our driveway into the drainage ditch out by the road. The back of the car hung up on the driveway’s cement edge and the front hung in the ditch. It took two hours of waiting and a tow truck to remove it. She didn’t leave until after the sun went down.
Our neighbors across the street, who graciously help us look for Jon whenever he disappears, says the neighborhood was pretty boring until we moved in. I’m not sure what that means. Maybe we provide cheap entertainment; maybe they secretly wish we’d leave.
David called while all this was going on. He was up in Orlando with a friend at Vans Skate Park flying and flipping around on his skateboard. This is a normal activity for a fifteen year old. Searching for your twenty five year old with a troop of police officers and a helicopter is not usually considered a normal activity. But for us it has become one.
“What’s going on?” David asks. Why don’t you guys come up and meet me and we’ll have dinner at this new seafood restaurant that just opened here?”
“Can’t,” I reply, “Jon’s missing, cops are here looking for him.”
“Again?” David responds with a sigh. “OK, well call me back when you find him.”
Because we always do find Jon when he goes off on his excursions, this conversation occurs like it’s an everyday event, nonchalantly and without panic.
Jon comes home in the back of a patrol car and gets out with a Cheshire Cat grin on his face. Most fun he’d had in a while I think. We thank the officers for their help and they cheerfully reassure us, “That’s what we’re here for, just call if it happens again.”
It’s not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ is what I’m thinking, but don’t say so.
I realize how grateful I am for these public servants, even the one who left huge gouge marks in the side of our driveway and little pieces of broken cement lying in the ditch. I also realize how grateful I am for my God who always keeps this wandering son safe every time he disappears. There must be some pretty resourceful angels assigned to him. And I’m really happy to know that God, who gives us our children, can also be trusted to take good care of them even when we can’t.
We will continue to call on Him for patience and grace needed to care for this special guy in our lives and will call the police whenever necessary too.
For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. Psalm 91:11-12