I remember because I was irritated that the doorbell should ring at that hour, frustrated by the interruption into my quiet evening.
The little boy who stood there didn't say anything at first, a lost, confused look spread across his face when I answered the door.
"Can I help you?" I asked.
"Ahhhh. . . . This isn't it," he quietly answered more to himself than to me; his big, brown eyes peering up at me, needing some reassurance.
"What isn't it?" I replied.
"AJ's. This isn't AJ's house," and he looked around to see if perhaps my neighbor's house looked familiar. It didn't seem to bring the relief he was looking for.
Not more than nine or ten years old, the little boy wore a jacket that seemed much too thin for a cold night like that. He had no hat. No gloves.
"AJ?" I must have looked puzzled. "There isn't an AJ in this neighborhood," I quietly told him. "Where do you live, honey? It's really cold out here."
Those big, brown eyes darted up the street and his little hand pointed toward some apartments a few blocks away. I suppose that was where he lived, but I couldn't be sure because he quickly said, "AJ told me this was where he lived. . . . Huh." And he shrugged and turned away.
I called to him, "Do you need some help?" but he just walked toward the sidewalk where his bike was lying on its side; he picked it up and rode away.
Maggie stood back, away from the conversation at the doorway, but observing all the same. A few minutes later, after I was snuggled back on the couch underneath the blanket I had been wrapped up in, but still not comfortable in my soul, Maggie came to me with tears in her eyes.
"Mom," was all she said before she melted into my arms, crying for the little boy lost.
"I know," was all I could say. And then, "Maggie, there's nothing we can do for that boy right now except pray for him. Let's pray for him." She nodded and cried and clung to me.
And so we prayed for that nameless little boy. We prayed he'd be safe. We prayed he'd be warm. We prayed that he'd find his way home, wherever home was for him. We prayed that he had two parents who loved him. We prayed he'd find Jesus.
As my daughter held me tightly and cried for the lost, I caught a glimpse into her heart. And I loved it even more.