Hope once lost now stands renewed.
I wrote this post last night, and sat on it all day trying to decide if I should share it or not. Last night I hit a wall of despair at the overwhelming reality of human trafficking. This morning I woke to a new day, and encountered love and grace at every turn. I decided to post this, because I think it is good to be reminded that the fight for justice is a fight, and it can get messy. It is okay to acknowledge that. But like any good fight, when we get knocked down, we gotta pick ourselves up and throw another punch…
It started today as I stared at the perfect little hands of my friend’s two week old baby. Precious hands, innocent hands. His whole body so fragile, desperately in need of protection. The thought came before I could stop it. “He has no idea what kind of evil is in this world.”
I felt a profound sadness in my very core, as I considered that every child starts out needing protection and we have failed to protect so many.
It slipped out again over dinner, as I made a comment about serial killers targeting women in prostitution. Taking a nice family dinner down a much darker road.
The it I am referring to is the darkness I have chosen to open my eyes to, the one I haven’t forgotten from the moment I chose to no longer be in ignorance, the one that sometimes crosses the threshold of normal life and reminds me that knowing the truth just sucks sometimes.
It means that when I see a new born baby, despite my joy, I am reminded of a story where a women’s new born was taken form her arms, before she had even left the hospital, and sold to an illegal adoption agency. The mother was told her child died.
It means that when I sit and eat my regular dinner, and conversation is totally neutral, I can’t help but open my mouth and remind everyone that there is something much darker happening behind the scenes.
It means when I go to get a manicure, and I see the nail technician has a faded tattoo of a guys name on her arm, I can’t help wondering if this guy was just a boyfriend, or if he was a pimp. I remember all the other tattoo’s of names I have seen on the arms, or necks, or breasts of girls branded by their pimps so everyone would know who they worked for.
I hate that I know these things.
I hate that in the dark of the night, I lie awake wondering what happened to that girl who came looking for help, five months pregnant, desperate to escape her abusive pimp, but who one week later went back to him. The one who looked me in the eye and said, “I promise I will stay away from him, for the sake of the baby, I promise I won’t let you down.” Already though, I knew enough to know that she was making a promise she couldn’t keep, a promise I would never have asked her to make, a promise I wanted to believe, and am now left wondering about.
I hate that when you read this post, you too will be made uncomfortable, reminded of how dark the world of human trafficking is, enough to taint our comfort and ruin our dinner.
And yet, what would light be without darkness?
Would we appreciate spring, if we did not pass through the gloom of winter?
Can I truly celebrate freedom, if I have no concept of what it means to be shackled?
In the world of fighting slavery, there is a conscious decision to focus on hope.
But the opposite of hope is despair. We need to despair at the evil that is slavery if we are to turn around and hope.
noun. expectation – expectancy – expectance – trust – promise
verb. trust – expect – anticipate
Hope shines brightest in that moment when we despair, when we look forward and we see only darkness, when we feel like laying down in the fight, when we believe that all is lost…
It’s that moment (yes I am about to do this) in LOTR II, when they ride out of Helm’s Deep knowing that they are outnumbered, and the word’s of Gandolf echo “Look to my coming on the first light of the fifth day, at dawn look to the east.” (you know you love that I just quoted that); and you look up as he rides up and dawn breaks (I avoided a ‘Breaking Dawn’ reference there), and the tides turn, and hope once lost stands renewed.
That feeling of light suddenly piercing through, of reinforcements joining the ranks, of someone else picking you up and whispering “just keep going forward”. It is the realization that it is not over yet. The expectation that my actions do matter, the anticipation of seeing change, the trust that we are not alone in the fight.
Hope is the celebration of what is to come.
It’s too late for me to turn back and pretend that I am ignorant to the world’s injustices. But it’s not too late to decide how I will let this knowledge shape me.
I can let it rob my joy and kill my spirit. Or I can allow it to give me a reason to celebrate all the more those moments that are good. “Be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.” Human Trafficking sucks. Sometimes I wish I could forget the things I’ve seen. Being part of bringing just a little bit of hope into the world, even if it means looking into darkness, is worth it, because nothing renews our hope like knowing that one person has experienced freedom because we were willing to try.
This morning, someone prayed over me that I would keep seeing the beauty in this world, whether it’s in the cry of a new born, or a magnificent sunset. It is a process, sometimes we have to fight to see beauty in the broken, but it is worth it.
Where do you find hope and renew your spirit when the trials of this world get you down?