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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Safe Return for Jessica Ridgeway - My Remarks from a Vigil Last Night

I was asked to speak last night at vigil last night for the safe return of Jessica Ridgeway.  Here are my remarks:

Those of you who have read my books or heard me speak, know that I cannot stand before you today and offer a prayer to God to please bring Jessica home.

Nor can I stand before you tonight and offer a prayer to God to please keep her safe.

How I wish I could.

But I don’t think it works that way and I don’t believe in that kind of God.

In what do I believe?

I believe in you.

I believe in the 800 volunteers who searched Saturday in Westminster.

I believe in the 100's of you who have spent hours distributing missing person fliers.

In what do I believe?

I believe in the power of community to hold each other when we are in pain and to support each other when we have fallen.

I believe in the power of you and me to look out for the vulnerable.

To watch out for each other and to watch out for each other’s children.

I know there are monsters out there. We all know.

But remember, the way Jaycee Dugard was ultimately freed was when a mom  --  a mother -- had a hunch that something was wrong and followed up on it.

Do you know what keeps me up at night?

Jaycee Dugard’s neighbors.

One of them called 911 to report something funny going on next door.  The police checked it out. The officer said, everything was fine.

If I had been that neighbor, would I have had the tenacity to call back the next day and the next and the next, even if they said I was being a busy body, until finally Jaycee was found?

Look, we don’t want to live in a world in which we are all spying of each other, where we are all living in suspicion.

What we want is to live in a world where we look out for each other, where we support each other.

You and I know that abducted children have been saved time and time again by a vigilant stranger noticing something odd and reporting it.

You and I know also that there are people who have contemplated vicious acts and decided not to go through with them because at the last minute, a stranger offered a kind word or performed a gracious deed.
I believe that you and I must continue to create a world where we treat each other with kindness, compassion, and justice.

On Monday my 8-year old was sick. I emailed the staff at her school to say I was keeping her home. On Thursday, before Jessica disappeared, that method of notification would have been sufficient.

But after Friday, it was not.

The school called every single number they had for me until they reached me in person to confirm my daughter was simply home sick.

I wept in gratitude for their concern and their diligence.

Tonight, we stand together as a community, to express our pain, our love, our dismay, and with it all we, commit ourselves to create a safer world for all of our children, for all of us.

There is a psalm I would be honored if you would sing with me. The Hebrew means, “How good it is when we live together in peace.” Let me teach you the words and then, won’t you sing it with me?
(October 9, 2012)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this Jamie: "I believe in the power of community to hold each other when we are in pain and to support each other when we have fallen." I believe, too.

October 14, 2012 at 2:03 PM  
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