I love writing each year’s first journal entry on January 1st. The new year always feels like a blank page to me, its emptiness full of possibilities and promises not yet broken. Jay and I spent the weekend at a friend’s cottage up in beautiful, winter wonderland Ontario, and as I sat by the window – with tea and journal in hand – watching the snow fall outside, I pondered what surprises awaited me this year. When someday I read the journal entries from 2012, what will I have experienced then that I don’t even know about yet?
I always like to imagine that the year will be full of good surprises. Great opportunities. Fulfilled dreams. Deep relationships. New friends. True contentment. Exciting challenges. Personal growth. Wild successes. Memorable adventure. Knowing full well that life also has its share of dark, mournful, and difficult times, January 1st becomes a strange mix of reflection, hesitation, and hopeful anticipation.
These thoughts have led me to the realization that victims of sex trafficking also have blank pages that lay before them. Some of these victims have not yet been trafficked but are vulnerable, and 2012 will be the year their nightmare begins.
Others are currently enslaved, forced to endure a horrific existence of exploitation and abuse. Do they even know a new year has begun? What is the hope that keeps them alive? Their blank pages are being violently filled in for them, without much they can do to reclaim their pens, their lives, their voices.
Fortunately, for a portion of these, rescue or escape is on the horizon. The count down is on, though they are unaware of this. Tomorrow might be their day of freedom. Or tonight. If they only knew that they were days, hours, minutes away from their prayers being answered. That their next page was truly a fresh start, a new beginning, a chance to live again.
Here’s the cool part: right now each of us holds a pen in our hand, with the opportunity to be part of writing into the stories of others. Sometimes we only contribute a word, or a sentence, or a paragraph. But our actions can also fill pages, shaping the fates of the ones who are vulnerable, or enslaved, or trying to heal.
Will you join me by picking up your pen and get serious this year about ending modern day slavery and exploitation? My next post will be a 12 point guide to how you can get started, so make sure to check back this week to get some ideas.
Let’s make this year count by writing beautiful stories together. Who knows what we will get to reflect on come January 1st of 2013!