By Wayne Hafner
Saturday evening I experienced the principles in action with my 6-year old son, David. David’s best friend/companion is stuffed animal he has named Spikey. Spikey accompanies the little man everywhere. Spikey attends kindergarten with him, dance class, martial arts, and Saturday evening he attended the Notre Dame – Navy football game with us.
After the game, Spikey, David and I played on the Notre Dame field for a few minutes, before grabbing the shuttle ride back to our parking lot. On the shuttle, David and Spikey entertained the kind lady sitting next to him while her family joyfully watched the interaction. A few minutes later, David, Spikey, and I began the dark walk back to our car. It was about a five to ten minute walk. I’m not really certain about the time because I was dealing with a very happy, chatty young man as we made our way back tour car.
Once we arrived at our parking spot, David made a terrible discovery. Spikey was missing. Tears poured down David’s cheeks as the harsh realization set in. I asked him if he wanted to go back and look for Spikey. This would require us to re-navigate the cold (around 30 degree), dark walk we had just finished. David wiped his tears and agreed.
We began the walk and explained to the officer directing traffic what we were trying to accomplish. The look on his face and the pessimism in his voice confirmed just how daunting of a task we were attempting. My use of the term “parking lot” is very loose. Actually, we parked in someone’s yard across the street from University property. And the lot from which we accessed the shuttle to the University was a field. No pavement. Just wet, muddy grass remaining from the melted snow of the last few days. Still, we were on a quest to find Spikey.
We continued, walking in the darkness around parked cars, attempting to re-trace our steps and locate the beloved friend. We talked as we searched, walking back to the shuttle bus stop. No Spikey. We were both in tears as we headed back to the car. You see, Spikey is a very special friend. He was a gift given to my late wife during her final days in the hospital. And he is David’s best friend. As we walked back, we continued to chat. David was in tears because he had lost his best friend and he was afraid Dad was mad at him because he had lost him. I assured him once again that Dad was not mad at him and we would continue the search. Then I looked at him and said, “David let’s try this. I want you to imagine how happy you will you will feel when you find Spikey and I will do the same. Can you do that?” He agreed. The little guy mustered all his energy to honor my request. I still wasn’t satisfied. “Now show me a smile,” I said. He wiped his tears, and did so. “Now let’s thank Heavenly Father” for allowing us to find Spikey. We did. We then continued our quest. We returned to the shuttle stop and inquired of each shuttle driver if anyone had turned in a small, stuffed dog. No one had. The third driver recognized us so we completed this leg of the journey, confident that Spikey was not left on a shuttle.
As we started walking back I explained to David that I was certain that Spikey was dropped while on our way to our car after we left the shuttle. The search would be a bit easier now, because most of the cars were gone. As we navigated the parking lot without success I felt impressed to tell David that I believed Spikey would be across the road near our car.
We crossed the street and focused our search on the dark ground ahead. About 30 feet from our car, there was Spikey nestled on the ground waiting for us. More tears formed in David’s eyes, but this time they were tears of joy. He did his happy dance and told me that he knew God had him and put him here for us to find him.
I am so grateful to these principles. I have used them in the past to find things such as lost car keys, but had not done so for something so important to someone I cared about. Life without Spikey would have been difficult and I am so grateful that I do not have to experience it.
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