Friday, August 01, 2014

phone calls.

Last Sunday I woke up to an early phone call from one of my friends. Funny in the not really funny way how phone calls can change everything. She couldn't find her 13 year old daughter. She went out with her boyfriend and hadn't come home the night before. Could I help her try to find her?

I've known this girl since she was seven maybe. Just recently I found an old picture of her and another little friend sitting together at a party. Sometimes it surprises me to look at the old pictures of kids who used to come hang out and realize it's the same young people I am watching grow up now.

I prayed that we'd be able to find her last Sunday. I asked some other people to pray too, but I know the reality of how difficult it is to find someone if they don't want to be found here.

Later in the day I stopped by their house. Her sister told me to call her mom, she was with her trying to get things sorted out and bring her home.

In my mind that should have meant it was all going to be okay.

But she didn't want to come home.

And her boyfriend is 32.

And her boyfriend's been married at least twice and has several kids.

And she still didn't want to come home.

And so wonderful organizations that know how to follow all of the legal proceedings have been involved in finding her and prosecuting him.

Yesterday I got to sit in her house with her. She is home again, but she is furious. So angry that her mom would make her come home, so angry that her mom would prosecute someone her daughter cares about, so angry she can't make the choice to do what she wants yet.

And her mom tells her it's not like that. It's a mother loving her daughter. If I didn't love you I would have stopped taking care of you years ago. It's a mother realizing what's happening when her daughter is blinded to it all. It's a daughter being naive and a mother knowing what it's like to stand in her shoes liking the promise of a better life that is really just a mirage. It's a mother knowing so much more than she's ever shared, and having so much more wisdom behind the decisions she makes when she tells her daughter yes or no. It's a mother knowing from experience how easy it is for others to lie to you and entice you to come with them, but for that to quickly turn into something else. It's a mother who was offered a cleaning job when she was young with a great salary a couple hours from home, but she arrived to find a brothel and she ran. It's a mother knowing she was lucky to get away, but her daughter might not be so lucky.

And here we are. Still unresolved. Still knowing instead of starting seventh grade this week we're trying to keep her from running back to him. Trying to find a place for her to go that she'd be willing to go and we'd be willing to take her. Still praying for her to understand she's worth so much and loved so much. Still grateful she is home. 

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