“The Way Home” is based on a true story of a two year old boy who disappeared from the driveway of a family in a rural community while the father is packing the car for a vacation trip. Because the home is in a fairly secluded spot it’s unlikely the boy was snatched. It’s far more likely he wandered off and simply became lost in the woods or worse fallen down an abandon well or into a pond or small lake. The father makes a frantic search of the surrounding area while the mother turns the house upside down searching for the boy. Their search turns up nothing. A call to 911 brings professional search teams, and another call to the church pastor brings more local volunteers as well as a chain of prayer focused on seeking God’s help in the search. Hours of searching by an army of volunteers and professionals yield no sign of the boy or the black dog that has gone missing with him. Two volunteers, a father and son team, decide to wander into an area unsearched by others because it is protected by barbed wire. As they are about to turn back to avoid being caught in the woods after dark, the father spots the black dog. Moving closer to the dog, the two year old is found in perfect condition ready to take a trip back home to be with his mother. The reunion is filled with relief and reflection for the boy’s father who vows to spend more time focused on family and less on work. In addition, that father becomes more active in the community that turned out in such great numbers to help in the most difficult day of his life.
This is every parent’s nightmare and the urgency and distress are played out in dramatic detail in this story. It’s a beautiful thing to see a community come together in this way and to feel the power of prayer as searchers seek God’s help in their efforts. The acting in this film is top notch. I was especially impressed by the two year old boy who immediately captures your heart in the opening scenes. Parents watching this film will undoubtedly consider how they would react to a situation like this. It’s easy to accuse parents of lost children of neglect or irresponsibility, but the truth is, it can happen to anyone. It only takes a couple of minutes of distraction for a small child to wander away, and if your initial search is in the opposite direction, the distance between you and your child can grow dramatically. This is a great cautionary tale that should remind parents how easy it is to go from fun and games to great tragedy in the blink of an eye. This is also a wonderful story about a community coming together in prayer and service to God by serving others in a time of need.