When is a crisis reached? When questions arise that can’t be answered.
~ Ryszard Kapuscinski
She was almost three years old. We lived in a downtown neighborhood on a busy street that got a whole lot busier during festival time and the annual Three Rivers Parade. I thought she was with my wife. My wife thought she was with me.
She was lost.
Police on bicycles found her five blocks away. She’d fallen in with some runners who prefaced the parade and just kept on running.
He was almost three years old. Different house but just a block over, along the busy one-way heading downtown. Nature called my wife away for a minute and he slipped out the well-oiled back door wearing red-striped shorts and little footie socks. She called me home, frantic and crying.
He was lost.
Police in cars with flashing lights found him twenty minutes later at a church playground three blocks east happily rocking back and forth on a fading brown horse fastened atop a spring bolted to the asphalt.
Questions without answers. Panicked pleas without high-pitch replies. Only silence. And the soul-splintering despair of passing seconds.
This morning, Pamela got me remembering these moments. She writes, “Fear operated me.”
Four kids later, and the fear still grips me hard at times. We’ve done our best to raise them right. Taught them to take risks and broaden their horizons. And yet they are still children. They still get lost. On their way to math class in a new school with more corners and longer hallways. Through throngs of new faces and places she winds her way toward a door she swears was right there yesterday.
Acclimation comes quickly though. Like the back of her hand she knows it now. But last week? As frustrated tears welled up and threatened a cascade of embarrassment?
She was lost.
Answers don’t come quick enough at times. They didn’t back then. And, sometimes, they elude us still today. Yet we walk on, turning our worn thin and frustratingly vague maps around, reorienting ourselves. Trying so hard not to get lost . . .