On being lost

This last week I lost one of my kids. The five year-olds and I leave school together and walk through a square and down a pedestrian-only street about 500 yards to the bus stop. One of the boys had stopped for a moment to play in a snow pile and the other and I walked a little further along and stopped just around a corner to look in a shop window.

When I looked back, the first was gone. I wasn’t too worried as the area is fairly self-contained and not terribly busy, but then we started walking again and couldn’t see him at all. And then, way up by the bus stop, we saw a flash of his blue woolen hat, and we ran to catch up to him. He had just run out of a store and headed to the bus stop, obviously looking very hard, and I started shouting his name, but he was clearly panicked, literally running back and forth on the sidewalk trying to sort out what to do. People standing around him looked at me, this giant American shouting on the street, but then the light changed and he ran across the street toward another bus stop we sometimes use. His brother and I ran after him, shouting his name, but he just couldn’t hear us, probably sobbing himself and deafened by the adrenaline. He was running down the sidewalk in a frenzy, and I just ran and kept shouting his name. Just as he was deciding whether to cross the street again, a woman stopped next to him, knelt down, said something and pointed toward me. Finally he looked back and saw me and ran toward me. I gave the woman a wave and a thank you, and knelt down to hug my hysterical son.

‘I thought you took the bus without me,’ he said.

‘I would never, ever do that,’ I said.

‘I know. I forgot.’

As we walked to the bus stop, we talked about what we would do if that happened again, establishing a meeting place. He asked, ‘Did you ever get lost like that?’

As we rode the bus and walked to our flat, I told him about the time I got lost at a huge outdoor market in California — a long, involved story of the type he likes.

But then, while lying in bed that night I thought about how I had been lost in my life, sometimes for years, unable to find my Father, panicked and running, unable to recognize His voice, having forgotten that He would still be there somewhere, until someone stopped me and pointed Him out to me.

And I want to thank each of them.


  1. Norbert,
    Curse you for making a grown man get all weepy in the eyes.

  2. This is really beautiful, I love your writing.

  3. Mark Brown says:

    Thanks Kilmer.

  4. Rebeckila says:

    Very nice. I knew what was coming but I still teared up.

  5. Thought provoking. Thanks.

  6. Very sweet, indeed.

  7. Miss Otis Regrets says:

    This is so beautiful. And I remember being lost and being found. Praise God.

  8. Poignant stuff, N-man.

  9. Beautiful.

  10. Really, really lovely.

  11. Thank you.

  12. We all need to remember those times more often. Thanks for reminding us.

  13. Your writing allows for so many people to connect in their own way. Thank you.

  14. OK, that really got to me. Thank you.

  15. Having been both the single-mindedly pursuing parent as well as the lost one, I appreciate this reminder of our Pursuing Parents when we are the lost. Thank you.

  16. A parent’s worst nightmare. Too often it doesn’t turnout good.
    In the states around 800,000 children are reported missing every year. That is more than 3 times our world wide convert rate. Many are taken by family members in custody disputes but hundreds never are found. Check out the website for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

    When I was a teenager Bundy kidnapped one of my cousins. Life was NEVER the same after that , especially for her parents. I volunteered every month in the Homemaking nursery for 11 years until our ward cancelled it because I thought we were way too slack in here. Despite my own faults and lack of ability, I would be damned before I saw a family in my ward go through what my relatives experienced.

    Unfortunately, one of my daughter’s friends in our ward disappeared after church when she was nine years old and her body was found the next day. She had been sexually assaulted and strangled.We were the only parents to take our children to that horrible funeral.

    For many months her father was the only suspect and few in our ward would speak to him. I honestly thought he was guilty and I continued to be his friend in some vain hope of smoking him out. Later older teenagers confessed to doing it andspent little time in jail. I don’t know how people survive these trials

  17. Lovely, Norbert. A reminder we all need.

  18. this is wonderful. thank you.

  19. O Norbert! Thank you!

  20. This is really, really good, Norbert. It replaced the First Presidency Message in my home teaching visits today.

  21. I can hardly type through the tears.

    Thank you!

  22. Kevin Barney says:

    Simply lovely.

  23. I’m just being found, after a decade of wandering. Thank you.

  24. Very moving stuff, Norbert.

  25. Simply put and so powerfully felt..thank you!

  26. Oh crumb, last paragraph has me crying on my lunch hour.

    Beautiful story, Norbert.

  27. Just wonderful.

  28. This was uplifting — thanks for posting it.

  29. This meant a lot to me. And made it into my ht lesson yesterday. Thank you.

  30. I concur with everybody.

  31. Antonio Parr says:

    Beautiful, both in thought and in expression.

  32. Love it!

  33. Thanks be to God — for you, for me, and for every one of us that was lost, and is now found.

  34. So tender. Thank you.

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