Like many of you, I held my children extra close this weekend. Adults and children alike, none of us can make sense of what happened on Friday. We discussed. We prayed. We focused on being together. Before bed, my boys asked if I would tell them stories of when they were younger. This one came to mind:
Two years ago, exactly three days before school let out for Christmas break, I received a call from school. On the other end of the line, all I heard was sobbing. The sobbing was so gut-wrenching, I couldn’t even tell which one of my sons it was. Once I was able to determine 1) exactly who I was talking to and 2) that neither child was hurt or in danger, only then was I able to listen and begin to process what in the world had happened to create such a reaction.
As my then third-grader was on his way home from school that afternoon, he was clenching a piece of artwork with its accompanying contest ribbons to the handlebars of his scooter, and attempting to contend with a very windy day. Recipe for disaster. The wind came “swooshing in,” as he said, and he managed to keep his grip on the artwork, but lost the ribbons that were paper-clipped to it.
He was heart-broken. Devastated might be more accurate. As soon as I hung up the phone, I grabbed the dog, jumped in the car, and arrived at the trails behind his school within minutes.
Since he saw the ribbons swoosh away, we knew they hadn’t fallen off inside the school. That left the bike trail or possibly the creek below. We combed every possible inch for his three missing ribbons, backtracking several times to double and triple check; the wind was not letting up a bit. I knew at any second we would spot the red, yellow, and rainbow colored ribbons he had described. Long story short, we looked and looked, and found n-o-t-h-i-n-g.
Defeat set in. The tears came back. Shoulders slumped, he turned back and we headed for the car. It was apparent, we had done all we could do. In that moment, I remember thinking, And when you’ve done all…stand. So, I reminded him to have faith. And he asked me if this was a good time to “trust life?” As I nodded, he said a quick prayer out loud.
Moved by his spontaneous prayer, I felt moved myself to talk to him more about trusting life — to remind him now that he had prayed, it was time to let go. Time to let go of the worry and to trust the ribbons would find him. I reminded him that the ribbons could come back to him in many different ways. They might blow past his path tomorrow on his way to school, or maybe he would find them at recess later that week. “It doesn’t matter how they make their way back to you,” I explained. “That’s not your concern. What matters is that you believe they will. You know they will find you.”
Just In Case
The next morning, I called the school and explained to one of the school secretaries what had happened. I asked if it was possible to replace the ribbons (just in case…). She said she really didn’t think so — the art competition was district wide, and because it wasn’t done at the school level, replacing the ribbons would be difficult. I went ahead and emailed the art teacher to see if there was anything she could do (just in case…). No luck. She wouldn’t be back until school resumed in January.
After I had done everything I could think to do as a mother, I heard myself say again, And when you’ve done all…stand. So I stood. And I waited. And he waited.
A Note Appears
By Friday, I was hoping my son was starting to forget about the ribbons, the prayer, trusting, all of it. When during my morning workout, the phone rang. I never stop a workout for the phone, but at the last second, something told me to run and grab it. On the other end of the line was Cathy, the same secretary I had spoken to earlier in the week about the swooshed ribbons.
She said, “Leslie, you’re never going to believe this! Let me read you this note I found on my desk this morning.” She read:
Good Morning Dee,
Mae found these ribbons outside of school — before they blew away. Don’t know if there is a way to get them back to the person who earned them?
See you tomorrow!
Jacqueline C??? (I can’t make out the last name)
(By the way, I never found out who Dee, Mae, or Jacqueline were. Angels??)
The Faith of a Child
My smile broadened with every word. Who would have thought? How did the note end up on Cathy’s desk?…the same secretary I spoke to about the ribbons. Why not one of the other two secretaries who wouldn’t have had a clue? Who may have just tossed them in the trash. And with it happening on the Friday before Christmas break, one of Cathy’s busiest days of the year, checking in tons of parents for holiday parties, why didn’t the whole thing just fall through the cracks somehow?
Because my son trusted. He trusted in prayer, in life, in something bigger than he. He trusted that it was being taken care of. And he knew he didn’t have to be the one to figure out how his ribbons would get back to him — all he had to do was let go…and trust life would take care of the rest.
How fortunate I am to be surrounded by teachers of Trust. Teachers of Life. Even if he was only eight-years old at the time. (And even if we put the ribbons in SUCH a special place we’ve misplaced them two years later, no matter, we still have our memories of the event, we still have our bedtime story, and hey, we still have the piece of art.)
This might be the exact story someone needs to read today to be reminded of Trust, and how it works. Please share. Love, Leslie