*I wrote this on my CaringBridge website back in February, but thought it was a good reminder for me and my Campus Crusade/Epic buddies as we head into a new school year…it’s about why we do what we do.
The rocking chair in the corner of her room is filled to overflowing. They sit unblinking, different colors, shapes and sizes, different amounts of wear and tear. Each one has a name. Each one has a story. Each one holds a special spot in the heart of my little girl.
Julia turned eight on Valentine’s Day. A few Christmases ago my parents gave us money for Disneyland passes and we never got around to getting them. Then last year. Well, you know. So THIS year we were excited to finally get those passes and celebrate Julia’s birthday at Disneyland. We went in the morning, she got her birthday pin, and the first ride we went to was the Tower of Terror. Julia went on the ride ALONE. I was too chicken and figured all of last year was my own version of the Tower of Terror ride and I had enough. The weather was perfect and the two of us had an absolutely wonderful day.
We walked through one of the little stores after getting off a ride and Julia came up to me holding a little white kitten with a rose in its mouth. It had a Valentine’s 2010 pink heart on the side. I asked her if she was positive she wanted to get the kitten. The store was full of all sorts of everything. She was certain. We bought the kitten and she kept the plastic Disney bag so she could keep the kitten dry during the water rides. The day continued. She got her face painted, ate cotton candy and as we went from place to place the kitten was in her hands and close by her side.
On our way to the last ride we realized that Julia had left the kitten in one of the stores we stopped in. We literally ran back to the store, talked to the clerks. No kitten. We left the park to go to the Lost and Found desk to see if it was there. No kitten. I filled out the paperwork in case someone turned it in. Julia couldn’t hold back her tears. Her face paint started to run. She took the birthday pin off and said, “I don’t even want anyone to know it’s my birthday.” Everything in me wanted to make her feel better. I had thought about buying her another kitten to replace the lost one, but before I could mention it she said, “Even if I had the money to buy another kitten I wouldn’t want to because it wouldn’t be the same one.”
We returned to the park, went back to the store. Talked to the clerks. Still no kitten. Went on two last rides and on our way out of the park stopped in the store. No kitten.
My heart was so sad for Julia. I thought about what to do with the pictures that I had taken on my phone that I wanted to add SOMEDAY to our birthday photo album. Every picture had that kitten in it and those pictures would remind her of her loss.
Four days later the Mission Viejo High School orchestra played in Disneyland, so I went to go watch Jonathan play. He stayed after the performance with his friends and I went back to pick up Julia after school. We visited the Orange County Braille Institute for Julia’s biography report on Louis Braille, and since we were in Anaheim we stopped by Disneyland on our way home to pick up Jonathan (and to ride a ride). We planned to meet Jonathan outside the park at 5:30 and we arrived early. I said, “Hey, wanna stop by Lost and Found and see if they found your kitten?” She reluctantly agreed.
We stood at the counter and the gal disappeared behind the wall. The line behind us grew. We waited and waited. More people gathered behind us. Finally she reappeared. She held out her hands, “Is this your kitten?”
We jumped and laughed and twirled. Everyone around us celebrated, too. Julia hugged her kitten tightly as we floated back with uncontainable joy to our rendezvous point to wait for Jonathan.
Lost and Found. What a picture to me of the joy the Father has when we come home to Him. Each one of us has a name. Each one of us has a story. Each one holds a special spot in the heart of God