Beyond the Headlines – A Dramatic Ending

At the end of October when the apple season was just ending and leaves were still a golden-red I blogged about the high cost of service.

The basis for my post was a story that I described as ” tucked in the back pages of newspapers from various news organizations around the world” about three aid workers who who were kidnapped in Somalia. My friend Pegi had brought the story to my attention. She had a personal connection with the family of one of the people kidnapped and was praying fervently and feeling deeply for this woman and those who loved her. At the time of the story the identities of the three had not been released so they were reduced to “anonymous aid workers” stuck on page three of a newspaper. A day later one of the three was released while two remained in captivity: Jessica Buchanan from America and Paul Thisted from Denmark.

And then the story faded and died, tossed out in the recycling bin with old papers. Yesterday in a dramatic resurrection that took the coveted spot on front pages of newspapers and primetime news networks was the ending to the story. Arriving by helicopter the Navy Seals raided the compound where the two aid workers were held and rescued them, flying them back to their respective homes.

This story made the headlines and rightly so, but beyond the headlines were months of waiting and longing. Beyond the headlines, were families that didn’t even make it to page three of any newspaper, holding out hope that these people who they loved would be released. Three long months of hoping, praying, waiting, and pleading. Three long months of little news where many had forgotten the story existed, but it was still going on.

It got me thinking about all the stories where we hear the beginning, and sometimes the end, but never the middle; those “beyond the headlines” stories. For every headline story of a murder, there are two families beyond whose lives are interrupted with pain – that of the victim and that of the perpetrator. For every headline sex scandal, there is a couple beyond whose marriage is severely compromised and badly in need of healing. For every headline of a sports victory, there are athletes beyond who sweat and train and discipline their bodies.

In a world where bad news floods our inboxes and ear drums, the dramatic ending to the kidnapping is good news. This is a story of bravery and compassion on the part of the aid workers, and skill and courage on the part of the rescuers. It’s also a story of a lot of beyond the headlines prayer, hope and courage.  It’s a good story. It’s a story that makes you think about hope and hope fulfilled. It’s a story with an impact that will reach far beyond any headlines.

Bloggers note: You can read the original blog post here

8 thoughts on “Beyond the Headlines – A Dramatic Ending

  1. Mom – I actually have been thinking ever since this morning about this. I am thrilled that these two are in safety. But the situation in Somalia is terrible and to see both sides is critical. I have to say that 9 people killed seems like so many….


  2. These references to the middle of the story remind me of your Faith, Hope, and Love piece–with Hope in the middle. In the agony of waiting, finding and holding on to that Hope must seem impossible.
    It also makes me wonder if the story would have been on the front page if the rescue hadn’t been so dramatic and involved the Navy Seal. I’m grateful for their bravery and the decisions made to send them in. But it does leave me wondering if the story would have made headline news if they hadn’t been apart of it. Did the rescuers become the story? We love dramatic endings. But the greatest part of this story is, in my mind, the endurance of the aid workers, the waiting, the suffering, the lessons they must have learned in captivity, their reunion with their families. Somehow now the story is all about the rescue. All about the heroes. It seems the true heroes are the aid workers themselves.


    1. You sort of read my mind. I was just talking to Cliff about this. After I posted all these thoughts came about that – about how it has become on major news the story of the bravery of the Seals. The reasons why the aid workers were in Somalia has barely come up, the love that both Jessica and Paul had for Somalia and lots more thoughts came into my head. But the greatest part of many stories is the middle, because that’s where the daily decisions to keep hoping, continue despite not knowing the end of the story, and ultimately the greatest lessons are learned. While I love dramatic beginnings and endings, I know that real life is mostly lived in the middle. Thanks so much for this insight – funny we were both thinking on the same lines.


  3. Happy about the happy ending to this story. There have been too many endings which have not been so happy. You are right about the middle which we normally do not talk about or even get to know but can well imagine. The heartache the pain the times when families must have lost hope… What strength one needs to keep hope alive in such a situation. Very good post Marilyn, as usual you have delved a deeper and made us think.


    1. I know – as happy as the ending is, it brings up some huge questions. What warrants a rescue etc? But that’s for another post. On your comment “what keeps hope alive?” for me the only answer is God. Others without the same beliefs may say the resilience of the human spirit. That inbetween time where you don’t know what the end will look like….that’s the toughest place and a lot of people don’t know how to walk others through that space. Thanks so much for continuing this conversation with your comment. You are very good at that!


      1. you begin such interesting, thought provoking conversations :) one can’t help but continue them. There have been a few I have not commented on recently, life is overwhelming a bit…


      2. I am really thankful for this rescue, and for the joy of reunion in these two families. But should we not also think of and weep for the families of the kidnappers who were killed, and for the people of Somalia. What an unspeakable situation for them to be living in and through. I don’t want in any way to condone what they did, or what continues to go on in that sad country. It’s the whole huge picture of the depraved condition of this world we live in – what does it look like to God who loves the sinners as well as those sinned against? Yet in so many such situations people have to suffer the consequences of their actions.


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