Monday, April 10, 2006

They Still Need Our Prayers

In Meeting yesterday, I found myself suddenly thinking of all of the former hostages I had been praying for: Tom Fox, Norman Kember, James Loney, Harmeet Sooden, and Jill Carroll, and realized that they still need our continuing prayers. It may be tempting to think that their stories are over -- some happily so, one tragically so -- and there's nothing else for those who don't know them personally to do now.

But in my prayer time yesterday, I realized that not only do Tom Fox's family and friends still need prayers and support, but those who are still alive (and their families and friends) also still need our prayers and support, because their lives have been dramatically changed, and it surely cannot be easy to find one's way forward in life after an experience such as they have been through.

First of all, there is the media attention. While some of the media reports have been positive, supportive, and happy for their release, there are, surprisingly, negatively critical reports as well. Meanwhile, the former hostages are all under pressure to tell their stories. But they all surely need time to process their experiences themselves before going public.

And then there's the question of what to do next. Remembering that these are all adventurous souls who did not let themselves be held back by fear from doing what they thought was right and good and important, it is probably not their natural tendency to want to settle down to a quiet life. But in the wake of the experiences they have just had, they surely need time to reassess their own next steps. I imagine that they may be having a hard time understanding why all of this has happened.

And meanwhile, all four of those still alive are also in mourning. The CPT members: Norman Kember, James Loney, and Harmeet Sooden, only realized that Tom Fox had been killed after their release. And Jill Carroll is mourning the death of her interpreter and friend Allan Enwiya.

So I found myself yesterday praying with gratitude towards all who helped make their releases possible. And then I prayed for each of them, and their families and friends, as they mourn and heal and recover and try to understand; and as they try to discern their own next steps. Their stories are not over. Their lives are dramatically changed.

And the rest of us too, who have borne witness to these stories, have not finished processing what it all has meant. We too find ourselves changed and confused. What is this world we find ourselves in?

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