As I sit on my cozy couch, warm cup of coffee in hand, autumn sun streaming through my windows, my fluffy dog snoozing next to me, I find myself wrestling to hold two realities in tension.
One: gratitude. I am so deeply grateful for the gifts that surround and fill my life. The gift of my husband and children, the gift of warm sun, the gift of our home, the gift of getting to write, and, yes, the gift of coffee. Very good coffee.
Two: suffering. I am so deeply aware that suffering pervades our lives and our whole world, in measures beyond what most of us can even begin to describe. There is suffering we experience firsthand, and there is suffering that affects millions of people in ways beyond comprehension.
Gratitude and suffering. Blessing and pain. Sun and darkness. All mysteriously inextricable.
There’s a little girl in Mumbai, India, who just saw and felt the sun for the first time in three months. She was trapped in a hidden crawlspace behind a plaster wall. The tiny space was hardly large enough for one girl, yet it held and hid six girls, crammed together. The space opened into a larger room, also completely hidden. This larger room was used for “conditioning” the girls, for breaking them down. It was a room where they were routinely beaten and raped, broken into chattel for sex in order to be sold on the black market of human trafficking.1