Recently my daughter lost her flag.
For most of us, this is really kind of a non-event. Just basically a no-big-deal kind of a thing.
But in the world of Autism, it is earth-shattering.
You see, Autistic individuals tend to make emotional attachments to places and things rather than to people. In our little corner of the world with Autism, the Caribbean is our extreme emotional attachment.
One of the symbols of my daughter’s emotional attachment is an 8×10” flag of the Bahamas. She carries it with her wherever she goes. It is her version of Linus’ security blanket.
About an hour after getting home from the movie theatre one night not too long ago, she realized her Bahamian flag was missing. Our home was suddenly overtaken by a tornado of emotional frenzy as purses and backpacks were frantically dumped upside-down and contents strewn every which way.
As the realization sunk in that the flag was indeed missing, the grief in my daughter’s broken heart began to erupt in deep, gut-wrenching tears.
Steps were re-traced. The car was searched. The movie theatre was revisited. More re-traced steps and conversations with the manager were carried out. My phone number was written down in case anyone might turn the flag in.
Meanwhile, an Autistic young teen’s heart broke.
Have you ever tried to comfort someone and worried that their grief was so intense that their heart might actually break in two? Deep, body-racking wails and sobs. This precious child. O God – do you see how her heart is breaking?
We prayed that God would help us find the flag. We ordered another flag, but it would take two weeks to arrive.
Quickly, I sent a text to three of my friends, asking them to pray. Their immediate responses were truly beautiful.
One friend responded by telling about how her son had lost his work uniform and how she had prayed for God to show her where it was. God had had her drive down the road and stop at one spot and look to her left – and there it was by the side of the road. She said she would pray that God would help us find the flag.
Another friend responded with humor – “Let me tell you what I have lost this week: my car keys, driver’s license, and two credit cards.”
A third friend responded by asking what she could do. I suggested that she call my daughter and chat with her. She promptly called this precious grieving girl – oh so dearly loved – and they talked for about 30 minutes. When they finished, my daughter was smiling and speaking words of hope and comfort to herself, ready to head upstairs for her evening shower.
The next day I stopped by the movie theatre, just in case… As I walked in, I was practically holding my breath in anticipation… There on the manager’s desk was the folded Bahamian flag! Someone had seen it in the parking lot, guessed that it wasn’t trash, and turned it in.
Do I think God cares about lost Bahamian flags? You bet I do. But even more than that, I know He cares deeply about an Autistic teen girl whose heart was broken. And I know He cares greatly for her mother who needed encouragement because He spoke His love through those three beautiful friendships.