I started the day dragging. I felt like I had a Super Bowl hangover—not from drinking but from media overload. So much buzz and so little story really. Every angle exploited to the fullest. From Ray Lewis and his baggage to Beyoncé and pre-recorded tracks all the story notes now sounded shrill and deafening.
Ready for more important news I tuned into a story that’s been going on for days—a little boy abducted from a school bus being held hostage in a storm shelter. I read the story and quickly put it in an emotional box shutting the lid knowing I could circle around this one all day. But then I heard the boy was autistic and it felt like Pandora’s Box had been blasted open. Now all I could see was the sheer horror of what that would have been like for either of my boys had they been snatched.
The story was horrible enough but with this revelation I felt nauseous. When Chase appeared with the bell schedule in his hand worried that we were not leaving early enough for him to be on time I quickly just agreed to leave ten minutes sooner. I wasn’t going to talk him through this one. He’s never been late once and what put this bee in his bonnet I didn’t care. If he needed to leave earlier to deal with his anxiety so be it. Where normally I would coach him through this I just didn’t have the energy to spare. I felt like another kid needed it.
For any child it’s an understatement to say that being held hostage would be traumatic but for an autistic kiddo of five years old that description falls far short. Children are unbelievable recorders of life with both its highs and lows but terrible interpreters. On either end of that spectrum autistic kids are some of the worst. With memories like an elephant they will remember details others would mercifully forget and they will misunderstand all of it. Concrete linear thinkers just can’t see the gray and sadly in life when you can’t see the shadows you don’t have the full picture to help you survive the unexplainable.
Knowing this I drove to school with Chase fighting to keep myself from getting emotional about in front of him. I didn’t want to have to tell him why I was upset and I had no solution to offer him either. Beyond prayer there’s nothing I can do. It really is in God’s hands.
I came home feeling defeated and desperately wanted to hear an encouraging word but didn’t want to open my Bible. Normally, that’s where I turn. Instead I just stood and stared at the counter. That’s when I noticed my yoga schedule sitting next to my penny bowl. I’d set it there last night and put the two dimes I’d found Sunday on top of it. I hadn’t put them in the bowl to remind myself it was time to update my counter.
Looking at the coins and the schedule a little whisper came up behind me and said there is something you can do Kären. Like you set an intention in your yoga practice and dedicate it to something do the same with your day. Set an intention to be mindful of this little boy and dedicate everything you do today to him.
But what am I doing today that is of any significance I asked? Baking cupcakes for Chase to take to school, a cake for youth group, soup for dinner, walking the dog, paying the bills, maybe writing, and yoga this afternoon—none of this is very noble or honorable. It’s all just stuff that needs doing dedicating it to a little boy that needs rescuing seems silly.
It’s not the Holy Spirit whispered. It’s how you’ll see me and be able to remember I am working too. My day is dedicated to the life of this little boy too. Because you can’t help doesn’t mean I can’t or won’t. Do what needs doing today in your life mindful of him and you will be mindful of me and therein remember some of my best work has always been setting captives free.
It’s a stretch I know but I think that voice is right. What I’m doing today won’t make a difference but how I do it might. Maybe there’ll be one more prayer I whisper because of it and maybe one more on your part too and all those will unleash a spiritual wave that changes the mind of a hostage taker to show mercy on a little boy who needs his normal routine more than most.
Cards for the little boy’s mother can be sent to: Napier Field Police Department c/o Lt. McDaniel, 400 Headquarters Street, Napier Field, Alabama 36303