Slavery has been around for as long as anyone can remember. Visible and hidden, economic and physical, people are trapped in places where hope does not seem to exist. Children caught up in a web in middle-America and individuals be sold in an open market in North Africa are the stories that occasionally come to the surface. For many, there has been an overwhelming darkness to their lives for years, sometimes decades.
As I read the stories of children sold and traded by their parents, I find myself struggling to understand the feelings of those involved. How could a parent sell his/her child? What would a child think when s/he discovers that they are slaves, trapped in a situation that appears beyond help?
I do not know what they feel. I do understand the darkness when one thinks that hope has gone. In my experience there is a raw emotion of having no control, no protection, and no ability to do anything about anything. At darkness’ peak the body wants to stop. Tremors, cold sweats, and despair are just the beginning. As I begin to think of this feeling being with me for months, years, and even longer, I wonder how they continue.
To anyone near this spot I would offer the following beliefs.
Pleading, asking, and demanding that God intervene is a good thing. “Up, God: beard them! break them! By your sword, free me from their clutches;” (Psalm 17.13) I believe Divinity cries when we are in distress. God wants to help and will although it may not seem like it at the time.
Looking for hope, hoping for hope, is a good thing. Never stop looking! Be aware. Be alert. Be open to the Other touching your life.
Live in the moment. In all circumstances what you and I have is found in the moment at hand. Our freedom, our ability to act with compassion and commune with God exists in the present.
The darkness is close. I remember that God gave me freedom. I can believe in love, act in compassion.