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lost, is a lesson
bringing it all home
by roger striffler

It may be a while before I'm able to look at a milk carton the same way. And all those jokes about seeing your own picture on the side of the carton, well, they're not that funny anymore. You see, I've just spent the last week playing the "missing persons" game, and I can tell you - it's not fun.

I've been putting up signs at intersections and gas stations. I've called every agency in the area that I thought could be of any help. I've lain awake at night, cell phone on the nightstand, waiting, hoping, praying for the call that refused to come. On the nights I could sleep, I slept restlessly; tossing and turning, alerted by every unexpected sound.

When I found him missing on Monday morning, I never dreamed it would come to this. When he didn't come home that night, I was a little concerned, but not overly worried. By the end of Tuesday, I was beginning to get upset, and by Wednesday I was frantic, knowing that with each passing day the chances of his safe return grew smaller and smaller.

I had trouble concentrating at work. I threw myself into tasks in the vain hope that it would distract me from his disappearance, all the while watching helplessly as the clock ticked away the hours.

Outside of work, the world had become a darker, more sinister place. While I tried to maintain my optimism, and reminded myself of the goodness and kindness that I had seen in people in the past, my eyes combed the ditches, yards and dimly lit side streets of my town. I flinched at the sound of gunshots in the nearby woods, remembering the loss of another of my loved ones to the cruel temper of a man with a gun.

At home, everything reminded me of him. His toys, his bed...the house seemed to echo with the silence of his absence. Unable to stand the overwhelming feeling of helplessness, I would walk the neighborhood, or get in my Jeep and drive around, calling his name and straining my ear against the silent night.

When I finally received the call seven days later, I left work immediately to pick him up, too excited to even talk. The joy of seeing him was so intense that I couldn't help laughing out loud. But more than any other feeling, I felt the relief washing over me like an enormous wave, as I was finally able to let go of the thousand little fears that had lurked and whispered in the back of my mind for the past week.

Now, as I sit here and he is sleeping quietly in the other room, I'm struck by the incredible horror that is visited on individuals and families every day. If my life could be so shaken by the disappearance of my dog, how completely terrifying must it be to a family with a missing child? How do they cope day after day, month after month, as the hours crawl by on leaden feet?

I know that they feel powerless as they wait. I know that they both fear and hunger for any news, any shred of hope, any sense of closure. I know that they are now painfully aware of the vulnerability of life, and the defenselessness of the innocent.

I knew all of this before, but I feel it more now. In some very small way, I've been given a glimpse into their lives, and the world as they must see it. I have a new-found compassion for those people, and like my dog, I hope never to lose it again.


See that job title? Check it out: "Spy". How cool is that? I know, you're probably wondering what it means to be a spy for an international organization like Intrepid Media, huh? Well I'd love to tell you, but I can't. It's all part of the spy game, baby.

more about roger striffler


farewell, my friend
the fatality of fear
by roger striffler
topic: general
published: 11.26.01

mission i'mpossible
four days that shook my world
by roger striffler
topic: general
published: 6.24.02


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