I’m thinking of you today, you whose daughters were taken. I’m thinking about what it must be like for you to imagine your teenage daughters sleeping in their dorms at boarding school, there to take the exams that would help them secure a brighter future. You must wonder how they felt as they awoke to the sound of gunfire and the rough hands of armed men who hauled them away in the darkness.
No doubt you comforted these girls when as young children they woke crying, afraid of a dream. From this nightmare they are currently living you cannot wake them, or reach them to wrap them in your arms and soothe their fears. I’m thinking about how you must long to help.
Perhaps as your daughters were growing up and developing their independence there were times of conflict between you. I imagine all of that is swallowed up in your desire to see them safe, and home. I’m thinking about the words you might want to say to them right now, when they cannot hear your voices.
I think of the way you must look at your other children now. You must worry about what might happen to them if they are allowed to go to school. Do you stare into the darkness at night, wondering about your children’s future?
I’m thinking about you today, and praying for you and your daughters. I’m praying for your leaders, and those with influence that might bring your daughters home. I have three daughters and two sons, which allows me to guess at how much you must love your children, even if I have not felt the pain you must be feeling at their captivity.
Last week was Dia de las Madres in Spain, where I live. Today is Mothers Day in the US, where I’m from. Usually there are flowers, and breakfast in bed, but this year I’m not thinking of those things. I’m thinking of you, and your daughters. I’m thinking of the mothers of the men who have done this, and what they must be thinking, what pain they would be feeling if they knew what their sons had done.
I have not been to your country; I do not know what your lives are like. I have not looked into your eyes, cannot reach you to embrace you. But I have joined with thousands of others today in fasting and prayer. I know that God loves you, and your daughters. I also recognize how limited my fast must seem to some. God doesn’t need me to go without food to know that I would have your daughters safe with you again. Nevertheless, being hungry today has helped me think about you, and mourn with you. It has helped me to resolve in the future to look for ways to make my voice heard against those who seek to silence women, to limit their learning, to make them afraid.
I pray that next Mothers Day will find you surrounded by your children.
Yours in Faith and Hope,