I was Rescued on April 25, 2009
It was pouring rain so hard that at times I couldn’t actually see. It was the biggest thunderstorm I’d seen in a year. I tasted the shampoo from my freshly washed hair run down my cheeks and into my mouth, and was silently thankful that I hadn’t bothered to put on any makeup. I watched as more and more people came walking over the hill to our abduction site, fully pumped to kidnap ourselves in protest of the child soldiers who have yet to know freedom.
On the way there, Rachel blasted the Killers and we repeated the same line over and over:
“I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier.”
Hundreds of us, wrapped in trash bags and rain ponchos, carrying backpacks and blankets, walked through our city streets. In my bare feet, I walked across gravel and city sidewalks, my heart filled in prayer for each child who is known and loved by name by God. I held onto a rope along with hundreds of other people and walked through our city in silence.
Underneath all the hyped-up energy and adrelaine, we were all there for the same reason:
Thousands of children are in captivity in Northern Uganda and we won’t be silent about it. We are going to cry out, we are going to make you and ourselves uncomfortable, we are going to make people question their own apathy, we are going to exercise our right to peaceful protest. Even when it means standing for four hours in the pouring rain. Even when other people don’t show up because of the weather. Even when most media and moguls ignore us, we will still be there. (Thanks to FOX 17 and Hank Meijer for rescuing us!)
Some people might think that a bunch of strangers holding a soggy peace rally in the middle of Michigan is a pointless exercise to free Joseph Kony’s child soliders from Africa’s longest running war.
We may not be able to give back these children their innocence, or remove the AK-47s out of their hands, but we can be their voice. We can tell people our stories of why we support organizations like Invisible Children. We can write letters to our senators, who are by law, required to read each letter they receive. We can give these numbered children faces, even if they are only our own. When we stand in solidarity in love with these children we’ve never met, we affirm one of the greatest truths that a human can know…
…You Are Not Alone.
You can see from my past posts that this is a cause that I am passionate about. Injustice, in any guise or form, is not something that we can shut out just because it feels too big, too powerful, too dark, or too much. It doesn’t go away by us ignoring it. When one voice joins one other voice, when two strangers hold hands in a circle because two hands are stronger than one, when someone comes straight from their college graduation to an outdoor peace rally in the middle of a thunderstorm, still in their cap and gown…it matters. What we do, no matter how small it feels or looks, is important. We’re fighting with the weapons that are timeless and will outlast steel and iron: love, hope, compassion, courage, awareness, peace.
Even when it seems hopeless.
Even when it feels like no one noticed.
One more voice matters. It becomes the voice of a child in Northern Uganda, trapped in a hell of terror and violence. That child no longer is invisible because one person somewhere else in the world chose not to be silent or apathetic anymore.
And it gives me hope.