How in the pa-rum-pum-pum-pum did Kevin end up in the same situation one year later? Honestly, who am I to judge? I've realized I'd been asking myself that same question at least a dozen times per year.
The funny thing is Kevin was on top of things this time around. He took every precaution to ensure he was not left behind. Still, he looked down for one brief moment. And when he looked up again, unbeknown to him, he zeroed in on the wrong target. Poor thing inadvertently followed someone else wearing a similar coat to his dad. To add insult to injury, he not only wound-up on the wrong plane, but he landed in the wrong city. Like snarky Kevin, many of us have been distracted by one thing or the other, and it set us on a whole different path than the one we were initially on. It's that easy to get distracted and lose sight of the intended goal. While many of us aren't lost in New York, we're most certainly detoured by iOS14.
'Tis the Season to Stay Focused
When Home Alone 2 was released, cell phones weren't all the rage, but what was it that distracted Kevin? You betcha, an electronic gadget. He just had to put the batteries in that recorder, similar to how we always ensure our cell phones stay charged. You know it's a problem when the government has to launch a campaign that says, don't text and drive. You'd think it's obvious your eyes can't be on the road and screen at the same time. Don't get your knickers in a bunch; we've all been guilty a time or two—until you had that moment when your life flashed before your eyes.
Early in the pandemic, I promise you, my neck and shoulders were beginning to look like a mini Hunchback of Notre Dame. All while my hand was almost frozen in a claw-like position. I was none the wiser until one day, I decided to check the stats on my phone. Let me just say, I was flabbergasted. There it was, cold hard evidence that proved I was spending an average of 8.5 hours per day on social media. Hold on! Wait, what? An average? Which really means some days it was more. I was spending the equivalent of a full workday laughing at meaningless jokes and being Suzy-van-judgy about other people's lives. Wow! my most precious resource squandered—time, gone, that I could never get back. There I was lost in things that didn't concern me. Lost in hours of meaningless content that added no value to my life. That got me thinking more and more about how when we're lost, it's probably the result of us taking our eyes off the target due to some distraction.
Living without GPS
Have you ever travelled somewhere and found yourself off course? At first, you're thinking, "Ooh, an adventure!" Then you begin hoping that you'll discover something you'd never seen before. But after that thrill wears off, and those moments turn into hours, you become flustered and overwhelmed. All you're thinking, like Kevin, is, "I wanna go home."
I remember travelling to Boston, MA, chaperoning a group of students to Berklee College for a summer program. I was on my way to the college from my hotel to pick them up when somehow, I took a wrong turn. A thirty-minute drive turned into four hours. I watched the city landscape transform into a waterfront, which turned into what looked like the rural countryside. Hold up, cows, in Boston!! So the roads paved over cow paths is true then? Okay, this is more serious than I thought. I was beginning to see how the Children of Israel felt.
I know what you're saying; "Well, what happened to your GPS?" Freind, all I can say is what a time to watch my cellphone go from low battery-to dying-to dead! Lord take this case. So in all my panic, I vaguely remembered something about interstate numbers being in some kind of sequential order. "Think Raquel, think!" Okay, what if I just count backwards 'til I get back to the road I should be on? "Ah-ha, that makes perfect logical sense, right?" Boy, was I wrong!
In my haste to backpedal these Interstate road numbers, I drove for 40 minutes northbound before realizing I should have been driving southbound in rush hour traffic. Rubin Studdard, I hear you, buddy; I needed an angel too! In fact, I needed all the heavenly hosts because there I was in another country responsible for 10 teenagers that didn't belong to me. I mean, I was lost, lost—while those kids were at the school waiting, counting and depending on me to show up. God must have smiled on me because while I didn't have a Pigeon-Lady, a group of construction workers pointed me in the right direction. All I can tell you is, like Kevin, there's never a dull moment with me.
Who's your Daddy?
Amidst all the panic, young Kev seemed to have not a care nor fear. He checked in to that hotel as if his father was Richard Hilton. He was living it up, with room service and personal concierge attention. He could do this; why? Because he was in possession of the knapsack that contained his father's identification, credit cards and cash. But isn't that what we have as believers? Access to all that is our Father's, but somehow we still manage to ditch the ark of safety because we insist on doing it alone. Sir Kev not only had provisions, but he had an experience. History had proven that his parents were somewhere walking on water to come to his rescue.
Even having that last encounter, it was as if Kevin learned nothing. He wasn't satisfied with the hotel's safekeeping; in an already lost state, he went exploring New York City (seriously, Kevin)!! Only to end up someplace where there was no protection. Big as I am, I wouldn't be traipsing around the Empire State alone. Had he stayed where he was, Kevin would have never run into the now Sticky Bandits. Though on the flip side, had he remained in the hotel, those very bandits would have gotten away with robbing the toy store.
I couldn't help but think, now isn't that just like God? Even when we go against His will, He sends back-up? Had it not been for Pigeon-Lady in the park, Kevin would be toast. And Pigeon lady would not have been reminded that she didn't have to do life alone.
Unfortunately for Kevin, while he was out being Dora-the-Explorer, his dad cancelled the credit cards, and the hotel personnel was alerted that something foul was afoot. The lesson here: don't be doing things in Jesus' name and didn't get His permission. Check it; Kevin was smart enough to make reservations from the payphone, then check-in by claiming his dad was in a meeting. But it never dawned on him that he needed to ask for help. Maybe just maybe, his dad would have authorized payment. Had he done that one thing, his family would have found him sooner. His selfishness caused them time, much more money and undue stress. So let me ask you, "Whose life is inconvenienced because you insist on living your best life as if you're not accountable?" Don't blame it on ignorance 'cause ten-year-old Kevin was navigating this trip like he'd been travelling alone since before forever.
'Tis the Season to be in Position
Kevin made some mistakes on his trip, which put his family at a disadvantage and just about destroyed his uncle's home. Still, in the end, he ended up being their blessing, just like Joseph. Because he saved the toy store from being robbed, Mr. Ducan, the owner, ensured that all fourteen family members received multiple gifts on Christmas morning. The same as with Joseph, who helped Potiphar prepare for the famine, stood as the gateway to blessings for his brothers when they came seeking help (see Genesis 50:15-21).
I know it seems like you don't fit in the family or that something always goes wrong when you're around. I get it, sometimes you feel so out of place; it's as if you could have been adopted. Listen, you were created uniquely for a reason. Don't despise your difference because God will use that to birth someone else's miracle. Being 'alone' most times won't feel good, but it isn't always a bad thing either. There are some journeys in life where you just can't take anyone. This holiday season, even if you veer off course, I need you to know and always remember that every road, especially the Damascus ones, leads to God. You never know, maybe you'll be someone's Pigeon-Lady.