Friday, May 9, 2014

Bring Back Our Girls

Dear Blessing,

You don't know me, nor I you.  I doubt we'll ever meet face-to-face, and I certainly don't think you'll read this letter. The reason I know your name is that I saw a partial list of names yesterday; names of the girls who were kidnapped from your school in Nigeria.  The reason this list is circulating is so people like me can pick one name and focus our prayers on a specific girl.  I chose your name.  I choose you.

I like your name, Blessing.  I can imagine that when you were born, your parents looked at you and saw the blessing that you are.  I imagine that you have been a blessing to them, your family, your friends, ever since.  I realize I have no real way of knowing anything about you, other than your name and this horrific event that has torn you away from everyone and everything you know and love.  I wish that I could know you.  I wish I knew your age, your favorite classes in school, the name of your best friend, what you hope to be and do when you grow up.  The truth is, I will probably never know these details about you and your life.  But I do know this.  You are more than just a name on a list.  You are more than just a blip in a news story on my television.  You are a real person, flesh and blood, with a family who is desperate for you to be returned to them.  They want you back, safe and whole.  I know that you are a real child, who should never be facing what you're facing right now.  I cannot begin to imagine what you are feeling or thinking.  But as a mother myself, I can all too easily imagine the fear and dread that must be overwhelming your mother, your father, your family.  I'm writing this, Blessing, because I am praying for you and for your family.  I'm praying for all of the girls who were kidnapped, and their families as well.  I'm writing this, because even though I don't know you and probably never will, I remember you.  You are remembered, Blessing.  You have not been forgotten by your family or the world.   I hope you know that.  I hope and pray that somehow you know, to the very depth of your being, that you are not forgotten.

I also write, Blessing, to ask your forgiveness.  Because what happened to you and to the other girls, is a reminder that we fail our children.  We have failed you.  We have failed because we cannot seem to learn that every person, every person, has value simply because they're human.  We have failed you because we turn a blind eye to the reality that children around the world are seen as commodities to be bought and sold.  We have failed you, and the other girls with you, because we tell ourselves that if something like this happens in another part of the world it doesn't affect us.  But it does.  It does because every child is a blessing; every child deserves protection and the opportunity to live a full life.  We have failed you because we forget that every child is our child.  You are my child, as surely as my own daughter and son.

You are not forgotten, Blessing.  You are being prayed for, and you are loved.  The world wants to see you home, and we won't be quiet until you are.  You are not forgotten.

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