Once there was a boy who was fond of going along with the adults in the family. He was living with his grandparents and he was everyone’s delight. He would go to the same movie at least three times a week with the different adult members of the family. He would go to malls and came home with a toy to be added to his favorite collection of small cars – the treasure chest of matchbox cars.
One day, Menandro (not his real name) went with his father to the big store. He was just tagging along because at three he was not consulted on what he would like to do and what he would want to buy. When Menandro’s father was done with his store visit, he looked around and realized that he lost Menandro. He went looking around for Menandro and asked the security guards and salesclerks if they saw Menandro. No one saw the boy. Menandro’s father gave up his search. Perhaps he was thinking that Menandro may have been kidnapped or something. How could he had easily given up? I also wonder.
Menandro’s father went home to tell the rest of the family that he lost Menandro in this big store. Everyone panicked particularly the mother of Menandro. Poor mother, how could she have felt losing her favorite son!
Menandro’s mother prayed fervently and she believed in her heart that Menandro was just there. So off she hurriedly went. The mother’s instinct brought her to the second floor of the store. And her prayer was answered, Menandro came out from his hiding place, a refrigerator which was for sale and obviously was empty. He saw his mother and gave her his warm big smile. Menandro’s mother just cried and embraced Menandro. In her heart she prayed to God for this gift.
It is not rare that children get lost in stores, in parks, in the streets, or elsewhere. When they are found, the parental instinct of gratefulness for having the child back outweighs the family rule of giving sanctions or time-outs or long sermons for the trouble caused to the family. Love is just in the air and it is always stronger and bigger than the problem that anyone in the family faces.
This is much like the story in the Bible about the Prodigal Son. In that story, the father gave a celebration for the return of his son. This son squandered his inheritance and he was living a life unfit to be called as good. He was indeed the prodigal son. The older son, though, felt differently. He had been living a life worthy of the father’s name and the family’s dignity. He was the good son. Yet, he was never given a chance to celebrate, not even with his friends. This made the good son very angry. In the end, the father explained to the good son why he caused the warm welcome and celebration. The father said that “My son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” (Luke 15:31-32).
Life is a journey. Many times along the way we get lost and we may continue to get lost. But we have this assurance that there is always a way to be found. May there be a celebration in heaven and in the family when we are found and when we finally respond to the call.