After the storm, I went on a walk and found a lost little boy.
Historic Flood of 2016
On April 18th, I woke up to find that we (Houston, Texas) had received more than 16 inches of rain in the prior 12 hours. Over the course of the next few days, we took on additional rain amounts that flooded seven counties in and around Houston. Nine lives were lost, hundreds of millions of dollars in damage occurred to homes and businesses, and we still do not know the economic impact. As I write this, parts of Houston (the third-most populous U.S. city) are still flooded and roads are still closed.
On the morning of the April 20, we finally experienced a break in the storm. Near daybreak, I took off walking on a journey around my community. We had not sustained any damage to our home or vehicles and I had been in communication with extended neighbors who had been flooded. It was hard to get my mind around damage I witnessed as the destructive power of the storm and flooding destroyed so much property.
Boy On An Adventure
As turned back toward home, I noticed a two-year-old boy walking down the street. His diaper was poking out the bottom of his white onesie. He was happy as he walked down the middle of the road in his socks carrying a set of keys.
I expected to see a parent walking ahead of him as I turned the corner, but he was out on an adventure all alone. I called to him and he responded by turning and walking toward me. He was a happy, carefree, adventurous boy. We connected and I picked him up and carried him into my home where my phone was and I began the search to find where he belonged.
It just happened that my Crucible Project friend, Bob Locascio, was staying at my house that day and he focused on caring for the boy while I contacted authorities and gathered a search party to help the boy get what he needed: A safe and loving reunion with his father.
Reflecting On My Work
Over the next several days, I was open to the thoughts that came up for me around my experience that day. There was an analogy for me in what I had experienced in my personal growth work journey.
When I went on my initial Crucible weekend in January 2009, the staff and leaders helped me face the storms in my life that I had been hiding and running from. They were “historic” in the sense that I had never put them out in front of me to look at and discover how they were impacting my life. On the weekend, I was given a chance to go into the storms in my life and make a significant shift in what it meant for me.
God met me there in the middle of my storms. He opened my eyes to find a lost little boy. The boy I found was innocent, happy, full of adventure and unafraid. I was able to look the boy in the eyes and pick him up and find out what he needed. I have become his advocate, providing him with the safety he needs. I still visit with him frequently and have become to him a loving and safe father.
The Rest Of The Story
I learned that Bob speaks toddler gibberish. He figured out that the boy was on a search for “Thomas” and “Percy” and wanted to be “outside,” probably because he was tired of being cooped up in his home over the course of several days of storms.
We knocked doors and gathered more searchers. Several blocks over I noticed a young man in a red t-shirt walking down the street. I screamed his direction to see if he was looking for a little boy. He affirmed that he was and ran toward us.
The father expressed his appreciation with tears in his eyes as he held tightly to his son. He had feared that he would find his son in one of the many ditches filled with water. He explained that the little boy had recently learned how to open the door. He had fallen asleep while feeding the little boy’s infant brother.
Since their reunion I have been to visit the boy and his father four times. I’ve also met the boy’s mother, baby brother, and grandmother. In fact, the boy’s father is thinking about attending the our next initial Crucible Men’s Weekend this July in the Houston area.
I thank God that after the storm I went on a walk and found a lost little boy. God used it to remind me of when I entered the storms of my life and found the little boy inside of me. I’m looking forward to my continued journey and my relationship with both the boys.
By Roy Wooten
Roy completed his initial Crucible weekend in 2009 and has been the longtime leader of The Crucible Project community in Houston. Roy and his wife Devra have led over 135 of their Life Together Forever Couples Weekends and are the authors of The Secret to Lifetime Love: Speaking and Hearing Truth. He also authored Full Throttle Into Fatherhood and is the Executive Director of Shield Bearer Counseling Centers in Houston, Texas. Follow Roy at LifeTogetherForever.com.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Matthew Barnes