One day, many years ago, I decided to take six small children to the State Fair. This was a family tradition, and even though their father was gone, I felt that it was important to still maintain our traditions. They loved to go to the fair. It was full of sights, sounds, noise, rides, food, and wonderful things to see and touch.
I had never tried to take all of them before, but wasn't particularly worried about it. (Oh for the innocence of those days!) We loaded up the big yellow banana, (read yellow VW Van) and took off for a day of fun.
The first thing I noticed when we arrived at the fair was all the people! There were so many people, literally everywhere. It made me nervous. I immediately assigned everyone a buddy. Now, I supposedly did not need to worry.
We started off around the fair. We saw the mud races, the rides, the farm animals and finally arrived at my favorite part, the main building that had all the things to look at and buy. We walked into the building, I paused at a table, and immediately lost the children. A short minute later, everyone was accounted for, except Adam.
He was three and had an insatiable curiosity. He was the one who could be right next to you and not hear you call. He was the one who loved everyone and thought they were his best friends if they just smiled and talked nicely. I panicked. I went up to the nearest security guard. He called on his radio to his boss and they closed down the building and the main gates to the fair.
This was at the time when children were being stolen at amusement parks. So, no one took it lightly. Everyone set out to search for one small three-year-old boy. Forty-five minutes later, we were still looking. Finally, one of the guards sent me to the other side of the fair (fifteen minutes away) to the lost and found. I walked into a room and there, in front of a craft table making pictures, was Adam. He looked up and saw me and immediately started crying, "You was lost!" He said, "Don't you ever get lost again! I looked for you everwhere and you was lost!" I suppose he was right. In his world, I was the one who was lost. It did not seem to dawn on him that all the other kids were "lost" with me too.
Sometimes in our lives it may seem as if we, or even those we love, are lost. This story reminds me of the importance of the one whom Christ went to find. He was surrounded by multitudes and spoke to thousands, yet He always had concern for the one. “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost,” (Matt 18:11) He said. “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?” (Luke 15:4).
This instruction applies to all of us who follow Him. We are commanded to seek out those who are lost. Much like the willingness of all of those strangers at the fair who did everything they could to help locate my son, we are to be our brother’s keeper. We are to be concerned for the one. We are to try and make a difference in their lives and teach them about the one who loves and cares for them most of all.
Our Savior knows that we will all make mistakes. He knew that some of us would become "lost" like my son, Adam. He provided a way for those lost ones to be found. He provided the atonement that we might live together with Him in the house of our Father. As a mother, I know that it hurts deeply to have a child become lost. If I, imperfect as I am, feel that loss, how much more does our Heavenly Father feel it, when His children are lost, not just for the here and now, but perhaps even into eternity? May we all strive to love each one of our brothers and sisters that wander lost and alone. May we be willing to help bring them home.
guest post by Patty Ann Pitterle