Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Never Lost

When I moved to Portland, my son was just shy of his fourth birthday. It was a sudden move, necessary for many reasons. We arrived without much advance planning, and we were both disoriented and reeling. I rented a room in an extended stay hotel, and started to get my bearings.

My son has autism, so in addition to the upheaval that any three year old would experience in those circumstances, he had an added layer of struggle trying to cope with disruption and uncertainty.

Within a few days, he came up with his own way of navigating these scary seas of change. He made up a game, a variation of hide and seek. I would close my eyes and he would run and hide. He would call out “I’m lost,” and I would set out to find him.

I went through the usual search game that all adults play with children, speaking aloud as I walked around. Is he behind the door? No. Is he in the closet? No. And on until I found him (not too hard considering the tiny space we occupied and the fact that he always hid in the same spot).

Like all kids, he squealed with delight when discovered. But I understood that for him, this was different. I would gather him up on my lap and wrap my arms around him, looking him in the face as I assured him.

“You were never lost. I will always find you. You are safe and loved. And everything is all right.” And just to make sure, I would repeat, “I will always find you. Every time. You are never lost to me.”

I could feel his body relax. At least for a few seconds. Then he would slide off my lap and run off to hide again. Lost. Found. Repeat. Repeat as many times as it took for him to get the reassurance he needed. Some days that was five times. Other days it was twenty five times. I didn’t really count. The number of times didn’t matter.

Such a simple game. One that reassured me as much as it did him. It reassures me even now. We are never too old to remember that we are never lost. We are safe and loved. And everything is all right.

I once was lost but now I’m found
Was blind but now I see
     ~John Newton

14 thoughts on “Never Lost”

  1. "You were never lost. I will always find you."
    Oh, Galen, what a touching and inspirational story you have shared here, my friend! You gave your son the lesson that God keeps trying to teach us. We can go nowhere on earth or the heavens when He doesn't know where we are. There's no hiding. And I, for one, am so incredibly thankful for that!
    Blessings!

  2. I've always been amazed that my son figured out this game. I just followed his lead. I agree that this mirrors many passages in the Bible assuring us that we are always in God's care and we are never lost. Like the saying about the fish in the ocean wondering where the water is! Thanks for commenting, Martha.

  3. I too found this story very moving. I wish I had someone who could reassure me that everything will be all right. Last night I went to bed with Doris Day's song "Que Sera Sera" going on in my head, and it soothed me after having watched the news and lost my equilibrium for a moment. This morning everything looks better and bright. Thank you for your lovely post, Galen. 🙂

  4. That warmed my heart Galen! I remember another post about slowing down and being in the moment. It was being with your grandchild and playing with warm towels straight from the dryer. A simple, lovely game. I can hear his laughter to this day! I always think of your story whenever warm towels come out of the dryer! You have provided such a warm,cozy, and safe place for all of your family! ?

  5. Oh I had forgotten about the towels. That was fun. Thanks for reminding me about it Betty. I have some towels in the dryer right now.

  6. Thanks, DJan. Yes, we could all use some reassurance from time to time. There are some beautiful passages in the Bible that comfort me, like chapter 43 in Isaiah. And many of the Psalms. (We don't have to identify with any particular group to appreciate the wisdom teachings of many traditions.) And songs or poetry often give us courage and reassurance. Doris Day, for example!!

  7. This was a lovely story and we are never lost. Thanks for sharing this personal example; I loved it. I know that we are loved, watched over and cared about by not only a loving Heavenly Father and Savior but by those that have gone on before us.
    Sending happy thoughts, love and hugs your way!

  8. Thanks, LeAnn. People think that autism is a disability and a limitation, and sometimes it is. But I will say that my son has come up with some of my greatest life lessons!

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