About a year ago, my family experienced a very scary event. My then four-year-old son, who has autism, was the culprit. We had just moved to a new house and we were busy. We were unpacking, cleaning, doing yard work, etc. It was a Saturday and my older two children were watching a movie. They were sitting on the sofa and I was sitting by them (momentarily) folding a load of laundry.
After a few minutes, I got up to put away that load of laundry and get another. Landon was wandering around the house quietly and every few minutes I would go check on him. At that point he really wasn’t speaking much and he didn’t actually answer if I called his name. I remember seeing him trying to go upstairs to our bonus room once and I told him to stay downstairs (even though I knew he might not obey.) Murry was in the yard working.
I would fold some clothes and put some away making sure to keep track of where Landon was. At one point the kids asked me to stop and watch a little of the movie with them. I said okay for a little while but told them I had to finish the laundry.
After a few minutes, I realized I hadn’t seen Landon walk by, so I got up to check the dining room and kitchen. No Landon. “Maybe he’s in his room or in another bedroom,” I thought. I checked and no Landon. Anxiety started to creep in.
“He’s probably back upstairs after I told him not to,” I reasoned. I climbed up the stairs and looked around. Nothing. Everything was very still. Everything except my heart. My heart was racing by now.
I quickly came back downstairs and when I turned the corner I saw something that made my heart sink and I felt sick to my stomach. The door to the garage was open and so was the garage door.
“No, no he wouldn’t have opened the door. I don’t think he knows how to open the door,” I told myself. But I knew he was gone.
I ran out the back door to Murry. “He’s gone. Landon’s gone! I found the door open.”
Murry dropped the weed eater and runs to the truck and says ,”Keep looking here while I go check the pond.”
The pond!!! Our neighborhood has a couple of ponds.
“No, no, no,” I’m saying out loud by now and tears start filling my eyes.
“Mommy, what’s wrong?” Katie and Robbie are staring at me. I told them Landon was gone. I can’t really remember the rest of what I said except that I was praying out loud and told the kids to pray.
It seemed like time stopped and we were in the middle of a nightmare. There was nothing I could do. I kept running from room to room hoping he would be there even though I knew he wasn’t.
After what seemed like forever, which was actually less than 10 minutes, Murry called. I answered, fearing the worst. He said he flagged down two people who were walking down the sidewalk with Landon. He stopped the truck in the middle of the road and told them we were looking for Landon.
The two neighbors found him walking down the sidewalk. One of them called out to him, but Landon didn’t answer. One neighbor went over to him, and Landon (who doesn’t meet a stranger), went right to him. The neighbor realized Landon had special needs. He later told me that there was another child with autism who lived in the neighborhood too.
They walked back to our house and Murry invited them inside. I was an emotional wreck of course, but so, so thankful. All I could think to say was thank you, although those words seemed very inadequate. The man holding Landon said “I knew he wasn’t hungry because he smelled like pancakes and syrup.” I laughed and said “Yes, that’s what he ate this morning.”
Those neighbors don’t know it, but they were guardian angels that day for our family. When I replay the events from that day in my mind, I know God was watching over Landon and us. Our subdivision is right next to a highway and just across that road is a busy railroad track. If Landon wouldn’t have turned to the right and gone straight this story may have ended tragically. If he would have taken a left out of our driveway he could have ended up at the pond. But God was taking care of him and guiding him to safety. I don’t know what God’s plan is for Landon, but I definitely know He has a big one!!
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. (Psalm 91:11)
Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:2)