“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”
A few nights ago as we got ready for bed, Jay mentioned what a luxury it was to fall asleep without fear. There were no bombs going off outside or floods threatening to sweep away the building from under us. We weren’t being held captive or wondering if our families were still alive. We weren’t preoccupied with whether we would have food to eat the next day. Night, for us, was a time of rest.
As I lay awake, I thought of people around the world for whom night was a very different reality.
Fathers who were wide awake, protecting their families from rogue militants.
Mothers who had everything packed in case of a sudden evacuation.
Families in refugee camps trying to find silence with 20 family members in one tent.
Trafficking captives forced to service men into the morning hours.
Child abuse victims wondering if tonight it would happen again.
Sweatshop workers enduring long nights of physical pain with no hope of seeing a doctor.
Homeless people looking for a place to sleep in -20C weather.
Those of us who have the luxury of fear-free rest have an opportunity to bring that gift to others. Whether it’s supporting fair labour initiatives so that people have a chance to build real livelihoods, researching best practices for peace-building in conflict zones, fostering or adopting a child who is at risk for being preyed upon or abused, offering pro-bono services to people who cannot afford a doctor, a dentist, or a lawyer, or making laws that protect the most vulnerable in our communities, the luxury of a good night’s sleep gives us the energy we need to look out for others.
Next time you fall asleep in a comfortable bed without fear filling your heart, think of a way you can invest into the safety and well-being of someone else.