Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Unexpected Heroes

For this Wild Ride Wednesday I want to say Thank You to all the people I never expected I’d meet, but without whom my family might not be whole. You are heroes.

I so appreciate the Clovis Police officer who took the first missing child report. Tom and I never, ever believed we would be the parents of a teen-age runaway daughter and we were scared and confused.

As soon as the officer left our home—a tiny picture of Gia tucked in the pocket of his beautifully pressed shirt—I got in my car and drove around town. I didn’t have a specific destination in mind. I was just hoping to catch a glimpse of my little girl.

About three hours later I turned left onto our little street having had no luck in finding my daughter. Sitting in his black and white car at the end of the block was the police officer. He was keeping watch—hoping with us that Gia would come home.

There are so many kind and caring people in the world, and many of them are strangers who will love you the moment they meet you.

I’m so grateful for the sweet woman who answered the phone at the Aspen Ranch rehabilitation facility. While her name escapes me now, I remember her calm and welcoming voice.

Thank you Paul for being a fabulous therapist. You are funny, tender, kind, tough, and honest. I appreciate an unflinching drug counselor named Phillip. These men walk and talk integrity and they inspire their students to rise to meet their full potential.

I’m especially grateful for a fabulous parole officer named Andrew. He showed our son and our whole family enormous respect. He had just the right combination of tough authority and gentle patience. I appreciate the deputy who greets the visitors at the Fresno County Jail.

Thank you to all the 7-11 stores and mini-marts who let us put up pictures of our missing child. Every time I see a poster hanging in one of your windows I stop and pray for the child and their family. You are doing a great service.

I love the drug addicts and homeless who take care of one another. There really is a code of honor among thieves. Without their weird brand of principles, my kids might not be alive.

I owe an extra debt of gratitude to the moms of prodigals I would not have met if not for the path my life has taken. Renee, Liz, Linda, Susan, and Ralaine—you have enriched my life, made my burden lighter, and helped me keep the faith through the ups and downs. I appreciate you girls so much.

I also want to thank a youth pastor named John who encouraged my daughter and helped her find her wings. The fact that she flies today is due in great part to your love and support.

Don’t ever be afraid of the unforeseen and unexpected path on which you might find yourself. You will meet people along the way who want to help you—who want to love you.

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