Last night we had our usual game night at the park. It was hot, really hot and everyone was at first just looking for shade or something cool, like popsicles. We did our normal games like football, Frisbee catch, ball toss and even a few with squirt guns. Yeah the different vendors like the ice cream van or lady with the push cart were tempting my group which means they are asking for spare change or if they are bold for a dollar.
Once the evening starts rolling a few stay at the tables and do crafts, drawing pics, using finger paints or making bracelets. A few little guys are on the playground equipment having fun jumping off the platforms or going down the slides. A few walk to the basketball court to shoot some hoops. My wife or Kelli don’t come so I am the one to watch over the craft area and pick up trash. So as the sun starts to wane and sink in the west the group decides to do some crazy games. They are spinning the little kids around, letting them race and watch who actually makes it or falls flat on their faces. Now they change direction and start doing a type of Thai Chi.
Now it is really dark and we start deciding who goes where and start filling up the different vehicles so we can get home at a decent hour. As we have everyone loaded one of my teens, who really is a great gal, hard worker, self-starter type comes up and says that her cell is missing. She remembers it probably fell out when they were doing the Thai Chi game. This group has a history of losing cell phones or having them stolen in public places. It was only a few weeks ago that this same teen had lost her phone at Slide Rock and discovered that it was stolen.
The problem with this story is that getting a cell phone is a major event in most teen’s lives. The challenge is that they typically can’t afford to have one so losing one or having it stolen is a major thing. So as we start to look for this teen’s cell it hits me how can this be happening again – like in less than a month? How can it happen to someone so nice and sweet? I start calling her cell and no sound and no lit up cell on the grassy area where we had been playing. There are about 5 of us literally looking foot by foot to no avail and I’m ready to stop. I can’t believe that this can happen to someone again in just a few weeks.
I decide to take home the kids that live close by and leave the intern to watch over the search. At this juncture I don’t expect to get a call about finding a phone but a call saying it’s not worth looking any more because someone must have taken it. As I’m dropping a large group of little kids off I get this text that says she found it. YES she found it thanks to our intern’s friend who he had brought to help. I’m truly relieved and thankful for the sake of our teen. It had just been a few weeks ago that a newcomer teen had left her purse on the ground unattended that had gotten stolen that I had a bad feeling last night that the same thing could happen. I know that one of the most important lessons in life which I continually face is the call to keep trying, doing it, never quit or in this case keep looking for that cell phone in the dark.
I know that there will be times when I will do dumb things, like leave my iPhone unattended and have this strange feeling that turns into a woops and then a wow I’m so glad that so and so picked it up and kept it for me. I also know that there will be times when I’m careful and even have our bag for keeping valuables safe that things happen. I know that there are a few who I know haven’t ever taken someone else’s stuff so I feel horrible when something happens to their ‘stuff’ especially in this situation when she just had her cell stolen. Life lessons are so important circumstances like this give new meaning and understanding to patience and persistence. I know better than to pray or ask God for patience.