Kings Island in Cincinnati, Ohio, is an amusement park that also has an awesome water park. Tons of water slides, a huge wave pool, a bunch of specialty pools, and other cool water rides. I know because I was there about five years ago, with our family and what seemed like one hundred thousand other people.
We were visiting Michelle’s cousin, Don, and his family who, at the time, lived near Cincinnati, and we all went to Kings Island. I was with our two families’ older kids in the wave pool. The bigger boys went way out to where the waves were strongest. I was in the shallow end with Jared, our youngest son, and Faith, my niece, who is Jared’s age. Michelle and her cousin’s wife, Ang, had taken the youngest two girls to find a baby pool or to the bathroom. No problem, me and five kids in the wave pool.
Soon enough, Jared came up to me asking for help with his life jacket. He wanted it off. We were in the shallow end, so I thought, Okay, he’ll be alright without it. I got him unbuckled, and he ran off to put the jacket back in the bin where the lifeguards keep all the others. Faith and I went back to splashing in the water.
After a minute or so, I thought, Hmmm, Jared didn’t come back. And there’s no sign of him by the life jacket station. Did he go out further into the deep water with the big boys who were loving the waves?
I scanned the pool and spotted the three big boys.
Nope…he was nowhere in wave pool.
He was gone!
Being a hot summer day, the place was a madhouse. I felt it was like Where’s Waldo trying to find Jared. Could I have missed him?
If you’ve ever had a moment like this, you know that your ask yourself, is this a time to panic? I thought, No, Jared must have gone to find Michelle.
So I told to the older kids to hang out in the wave pool, stay put, and that I was looking for Jared. I then took Faith with me to look. (No more losing any other kids!)
At this point, though I told myself not to panic, my heart was pounding. I double-checked the wave pool. He was nowhere in or around the wave pool. He was nowhere around the next pool closest to us. But as I scanned, I heaved a sigh of relief. Just 100 yards away, I saw Michelle and Ang walking with the younger girls. They must have seen him.
Nope…they didn’t! Now I’m feeling more embarrassed and scared than before. I gave Faith to Ang, Michelle gave Meagan to Ang, and we went in different directions, searching for a little boy in a place that was a sea teeming with a thousand little kids.
I walked to yet another pool…no sign of him. So I doubled-back to find Michelle again.
As I walked back toward where we left Ang, I realized that Jared has now been missing for at least five minutes. This is not good. He could be snagged and off the property by now. My anxiety level is huge.
On Sunday we’re going to read about parents that likewise got freaked out about a missing child. This time it was Jesus’ parents, Mary and Joseph. To prepare, check out Luke 2:41-52.
We’ll find out what happens in that story, and why it can and should matter to us! I’ll also tell you how things turned out that day at King’s Island! So join us at Faith Church for worship!