It’s interesting to me how when you a get a little distance from a past experience it almost seems unreal. I’ve noticed that with both the bad things in my life and also the good things.
I was recently reminded of this when my son went on Google maps and started looking at places we visited on our trip to Europe earlier this month. He was using the “Street View.” The fact that we can sit in our home and do this still fascinates me. My son chose to look at the street view of Venice, Italy. At one point he says, “Mom I found the exact bench we were sitting on!” I looked at the screen and the memory of that moment filled my brain.
My family and I sat by that water. Seems so unreal.
The same thing happened a little later in the day when I was scrolling through Facebook and Solid Rock International (the organization my former church in North Carolina would partner with to make trips to the Dominican Republic) had posted a picture of children lined up against their school wall. Immediately, the memory of my first mission trip swept over me.
I painted that wall. Again, almost unreal.
Yesterday, I had a meeting with a local organization called Second Life Chattanooga, a group that helps to inform and educate the community on human trafficking. It’s been on my heart for a while now to take a step in this direction, to find ways I might be able to help. I’ve asked the Lord several times…why this direction? I don’t have any experience (thank God) with sex slavery. The only thing I know are the stories and statistics I’ve read about. For me, it’s one of those things that once you become informed…you can’t stand back and do nothing.
As I drove to the meeting yesterday, memories of years ago came to mind. It’s still amazing to me how completely different my life looks today compared to 15 years ago. When I think back on the darkest times of my past, it seems unreal. The bad times evoked the same “did that really happen?” question inside me as the good times I shared with you above. But, obviously, not in a joyful way. (grateful I’m no longer trapped there, yes) Yet, when I think of the incredibly bad times in my life, it almost feels like I was living some other person’s life.
Let me assure you, I’m not even attempting to compare my bad to the horrifyingly bad that occurs to someone imprisoned in sex slavery. My bad doesn’t even come close to that bad. Not even close.
Yet, as I told the lady I met with yesterday, I am passionate about seeing people live free.
I am passionate about never giving up hope that there is a way out of even the worst of circumstances. That’s the message I’m called to spread. Hope and freedom. I want everyone to arrive at that point in their own story where they are able to look back, shackles gone!
I want others to experience what it feels like to be on the other side of the wall. And, ultimately, I want others to be able to drive down the road one day and have that feeling that they are NOW so far removed from the hell they once lived… that it almost seems unreal.