The hand of a friend

Crystal Gornto ~ HeartStories

These guys played in five games at the YMCA field on Saturday.  We all looked like lobsters by the end of the day since I’m such a good mom, who remembered that the sun is still hot enough to burn you in April, even with wind gusts up to 40 mph!  But it wasn’t all a loss.  They won all their games and scores loads of goals.  But my favorite memory of the day was this one.

Down in the damp, dark and cold culvert. 

Before his first game that morning, Oaks lost his favorite football down the storm drain on the side of the field.  It wasn’t just any football, it was a playbook football his PeePaw bought him in Florida.  As much as I tried to reassure him it was replaceable.  I knew, sentimentally, it really wasn’t.  So did he.

We tried to let it go and just move on.

Until later that afternoon when Noah was running around in a field, exploring.  He came running back with a wild idea.  “Mom, there’s a big hole over there with a tunnel.  It looks like it might lead to the drain where Oaks lost his ball!”  My initial, very loving, reaction was “No Noah.  We’ve already let it go.  And please, don’t say anything to Oakley.”


“Yes Noah?”  

“I really think I could get it.  I just need to use your phone for a flashlight.  Will you come with me? ” 

“Okay, I will come check it out.”

On the walk over I told them stories of how their Aunt Mimi and I used to crawl through culverts as kids.  In no time flat, the three of us were crawling into the cold, damp, dingy pipe with only my flashlight to light the path.  They were nervous, and glad to have me along.  My voice echoed through the tube when I finally said, “This is about as far as I want to go.  I’ll sit here. You can take my phone up there to see what’s around that bend.”  (They’re much smaller, you know.  That spread-eagle crawling thing is harder than it looks!)  They went a little further and turned right out of view.

Suddenly, I was the one who was a little nervous.  

I called for them, but they didn’t answer.  I could feel my heartbeat speeding up as I sat there in the pitch blackness.  I called again.  Nothing. I kept calling, until finally they emerged around the corner.

Frustrated and empty-handed.

They could see the field out the light in the drain, but they’d come to a wall, right about the place where the ball fell in.  We all crawled our way out to strategize.  Eventually, I stood at the top of the storm drain, where the ball rolled in.  They ran back (with my phone, of course) to crawl back to the light, listening to the sound of my voice.  With my head peering into the drain, I could see an opening in the wall and guide them to it.  Oakley reached through and pulled out his favorite ball.  Victory!

A vivid reminder about life.  

Sometimes, it’s the right thing to do to let it go and move on.

Sometimes you need to push through fear to explore a dark cave with a friend.

Sometimes you might have to go back to push through the fear again, with a wise voice guiding the way.

Only you can know what’s right.  

But the most important part, is to never take the journey alone.

No matter what, your journey requires the light, the wisdom and the hand of a friend.  

to more love,



  1. Very powerful story Crystal! You’re a great mom and friend to the boys

    1. Thank you Dad! Love you!

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