Yesterday, I got a voice mail on the phone that should never have happened. Someone in the office at my daughter's high school called to tell me she never showed up for school yesterday and consequently, missed a major exam. It was now well after 3 PM and school had already been dismissed, so I texted my child and when I got no response, I called her. Still nothing. I immediately called the school. I knew she had a late arrival time yesterday for the exam but to me it was inexcusable to wait until the end of the day like this to notify me. What if something nefarious did happen to her? Hours had been wasted. I called and got the aide who left the message on the phone. Let's just say her response left something to be desired and just as I was about to hang up and head to the school myself, Child #3 strolls in the door. She forgot her ID badge and thus didn't swipe in, but she most certainly did attend school and complete the exam. It was hard to know whether to celebrate or want to throttle the aide for not bothering to do her homework before calling me.
I have always felt a small measure of comfort in the fact that my youngest is tall and does not look like an easy target for would-be troublemakers but that doesn't mean I don't worry.
Fast-forward a few hours and I get a message that a childhood acquaintance who happens to be related through marriage to a cousin is in desperate need of prayers. Her son has gone missing in the waters in Florida and 24 hours later has still not turned up, dead or alive. I know this particular family has endured the kind of unspeakable grief and hardship that leaves you wondering how they have survived and now this has happened. Apparently, the boy was in a "tough love" program for juveniles battling addiction and had gone with the rest of the group to the beach on Sunday. When the counselors did a head count, he was missing. The Coast Guard is now involved in the search. I pray that he is found one way or another so that his family and his mother in particular can have whatever peace this type of closure might bring.
Fast-forward another hour and the joyful news erupts that three young women who had long ago gone missing have been discovered, alive and considering all things, well. One of them has a child presumed to be hers. I was so moved by the fact that even in her desperate attempt to escape, her motherly instincts prevented her from leaving that child, conceived against her will, in the prison that held her for years. I listened to the parents of other children who were not so blessed talk about the agony of not only losing a child but never knowing what the outcome was. One of the mothers did not live long enough to know that the ending would be happy. I can only imagine what life has been like for the other two, who could never entirely give up hope so long as a body was never found.
My prayers today are of thanksgiving that these young women have been found alive and also of petition that the missing swimmer will be located. I also pray that all our children will be protected by God and His Angels from the diabolical evils that seek to steal them, whether in the form of addiction or the kind of evil impulses that lead men to do the unthinkable.