A family went away on a camping vacation. Packing sparingly, the woman chose one sweater and a pair of shoes for each of the children. The youngest took his crocs; his one and only blue crocs; the only crocs he loved.
The family had a wonderful time: they climbed mountains and hiked and chased the waves back and forth and back and forth on the beach. And then, after a long day of fun, they started the long and winding road back to their campsite. The boy was asleep when the family decided on an impromptu gelato stop. His mother folded his limp limbs into her own and carried him sleeping while the others chose their flavors. He awoke, delighted to find a cup of gelato goodness in front of him. The family noticed his bare feet, and thinking his shoes were in the beach bag, carried him aloft through the bustling village.
On arriving back at the campsite, the beach bag and all other bags were upended and overturned – and the shoes were nowhere to be found. The mother, fearing them to have been left at the beach, considered her options. A 90 minute round trip to a windy beach was too far. But a 20 minute trip back to the village was not. Leaving the kids to pick berries and chase raccoons, she drove back to the village.
She parked off the main street, and searched in the ditches. Her eyes raked up and down the shoulder of the road, and then crossing the road, scoured the debris of the Farmers Market as the last of the debris was being swept away. No shoes. Retracing their steps, she walked along towards the gelato stand. A flash of blue below caught her eye, and there, tucked against a pole, she found one blue shoe.
Buoyed with hope, she kept walking. Past the gelato stand, past the wrinkled street side barista. And there, obviously rescued by a kind passer by, she saw the second shoe in the center of a picnic table they had not sat at or walked past. The woman squealed as she scooped up the shoe, unable to restrain an impromptu bit of street dancing.
She grinned at strangers and then called her husband: “Woo hoo!” she said, “The shoe is found!!!”
“In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10)
For, are you not worth more than many sparrows? And many pairs of blue crocs?