Recently on one these walks we talked about how on a regular basis we both experience moments of reality, in which the facade of affluence, comfort, and stability that is
the norm for most in our community is pushed aside by thoughts of suffering, injustice, and abuse that the rest of the world experiences on a daily basis. Sometimes I feel as if I am living in a fake world, where people’s pain is numbed by work and entertainment, hidden behind brand new clothes and beautiful homes.
For those living in impoverished, conflict-ridden countries, this pain is harder to hide. You can see it in the streets as young children beg for food and rummage through garbage. You can hear it as mobs cry out for better leadership. You can sense it in how people treat each other and how they interact with foreigners.
Indeed, there is pain in this world. But most of us turn a blind eye in hopes that this will keep it from infecting us – from making us feel guilty – from turning our worlds upside down.
In our documentary about sex trafficking in Canada, author Benjamin Perrin explains that Moldova is one of the top source countries for international trafficking victims to Canada. The poverty that permeates this Eastern European country has led to an orphan crisis. Imagine yourself being abandoned by your parents, raised and abused in a run-down orphanage, and released into the world at 16 years of age with nothing more than a few bucks in your pocket and a bus ticket. Stop. Read that sentence again. Close your eyes and take a moment to really picture yourself in that position.
Real life stories like these ones are what hijack my pleasant evening walks with my husband and remind me that traffickers are preying on the vulnerable:
I believe that part of being human is to show compassion. To enter into the pain of others and turn it into an opportunity for hope and restoration. The girls in this film are safe because someone allowed moments of reality to interrupt the facade until action became inevitable.
For those of you with warm homes, food in your bellies, money to pay your bills, internet access, family and friends, gifts at Christmas, safe neighbourhoods, cable TV, cars, and a more than one outfit, I give this challenge to you as I give it to me:
Allow moments of reality to shatter your daydreams and invade your heart. Don’t be afraid to learn about the suffering of others. And then do something about it.
You can check out the Stella’s House website here.