A month ago today my daughter was found.
She was standing in a meadow. The pocket of her dress was full of eucalyptus nuts and dry grass. Her shoes and socks and pants were soaked with morning dew. She was cold and hungry, thirsty and scared. She was safe.
For 22 hours I did not know where my child was. That changed me. While hundreds of people searched and called and strategized and watched and prayed through the night, I waited not knowing. I passed a night without her and I didn't know if it would be just one, or the first of many.
As someone who practices gratitude and simplicity, I thought I had a handle on the preciousness of everyday life. But, really, I had no idea. I am now living a second chance at my same ordinary, beautiful, exhausting, unknowable life, given back to me as a gift from a merciful God. May I never forget. May I never take any part of this life for granted.
Dear friends, those of us who have the privilege of getting annoyed at our kids, of snapping over laundry on the floor, food uneaten and sibling fights: we are the lucky ones. At the end of an exhausting day, may I always remember: being able to pull a blanket over a sleeping child is a gift. Being called back to a bedside for a glass of water, finding a small boy in my bed at 2am: these are luxuries. In the safety of my messy home, with my three healthy, messy children, I am blessed beyond my comprehension.
My family received so many prayers that night. Tonight I send those prayers on to those parents whose suffering has not been relieved as mine has. To the parents who cannot provide basic safety, warmth and nourishment for their children. To the parents whose children are suffering. To the parents whose children are lost to them for any reason on this earth. My prayers are yours always.