Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Comfort in Numbers

This week was hard. I am sick, tired and overwhelmed with school (isn't senior year of high school supposed to be all fun and slacking off?!). A lovely idea for a blog would roll into my mind but would swiftly be overcome by dark clouds of exhaustion and inadequacy. Learning more about human trafficking has really weighed heavily on me. With a workload piling up exponentially on my back and my heart burdened, I shut down emotionally and creatively. My grades, my work schedule and fighting human trafficking loomed before me and everything else was shoved to the back burner. 
I headed off wearily last night to Bible study, thinking about my growing to do list and the mounting suffering in the city around me. I settled down into a comfy couch and prayed in my heart "Jesus...I'm so tired..I need you." We sang, lifting our praise to the Lord, and then we opened our Bibles to Ecclesiastes 4, the book we've been studying and read:

 I saw the tears of the oppressed— 
   and they have no comforter;
power was on the side of their oppressors—
   and they have no comforter. 
2 And I declared that the dead,
   who had already died,
are happier than the living,
   who are still alive. 
3 But better than both
   is the one who has never been born,
who has not seen the evil
   that is done under the sun.

Harsh. Much of our discussion was dealing with those verses–many had a hard time hearing the author because he seemed so pessimistic–which is understandable. But I'm there. It feels so senselessly painful sometimes to deal with social justice issues. If a child was never born if they were sold into child slavery at the age of six wouldn't it be better if they were never born? Who is the comforter to the marginalized? Those who oppress obviously have all the power...so what can I do? 

Eva's voice broke my desperate chain of thought, "So this book was written before Jesus, so this is all the author of Ecclesiastes could see. But now that Jesus has come we know His Kingdom is different than this world. Those who mourn will be comforted. Those who are meek and without power now will one day inherit the Earth." 

I had forgotten Jesus. 

I had gotten lost in my own narrow view of the darkness around me and forgotten that ultimately the war is already won and my God is victorious. I leaned my head against my knee and closed my eyes tight against gathering tears. 

"See Em. I never left you," I heard the Lord whisper to me. 

"This is great guys, I love getting to talk with you all every week...yea, let's talk about verses 9-12," Steve said as he gently directed our conversation. "These are some of the best verses in the Bible I think." 

9 Two are better than one,
   because they have a good return for their labor: 
10 If either of them falls down,
   one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
   and has no one to help them up. 
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
   But how can one keep warm alone? 
12 Though one may be overpowered,
   two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

"This image of community, I mean, that's what it's about. We can't do it alone...and also verse 6 is great (Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.) It's like 'it's better to have only one hand full so that the other hand is free to hold someone else's rather than just having two hands full of shit," Steve continued profoundly. 

I was struck. Why do I keep trying to stand alone? I spend so much time chasing achievements or recognition or even good things like social justice, but I leave no time for life giving friendships–for community. Major mistake number one. So many girls have signed up to join me in this one dress campaign and I have so many people praying for me–I am not alone in this. Not only is there strength in numbers, there is comfort in numbers. 

That was a lot. But I felt the need to share a lot. 

My lack of computer knowledge is prohibiting me from uploading any new pictures right now except for this candid of me running out the door as I was late for school! 

 (I have no idea why all of a sudden it won't work! I'll fix it soon...well, my mom will fix it soon!)


  1. Ecclesiastes is my favorite book of the Bible. It's so earthy and gritty. It's the book that most makes me feel God "gets" what daily humanity is. What disillusion and disheartening feels like.

    I was training tonight for a volunteer gig for an Underground Railroad program. The leader reminded us that slavery still goes on today and we can still be abolitionists. Made me think of your project. Go, you abolitionist.

  2. That's so true! I'm really loving the painful truth of Ecclesiastes-it's not sugar coated at all which I really appreciate. It's especially good when dealing with the darkest parts of this world!

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  4. Thank you Emily. Over here, I'm getting stressed out and wondering how to keep up with life, let alone learn more about human trafficking and raise awareness and stuff. This post came at just the right time!

    Jesus is all I need.


    Emily: you inspired me to actually DO it! Amy gave the idea, but because you chose to wear the dress until you graduated, I decided to wear my handkerchief until the end of Finals week. now I'm actually DOing it. Just thought you should know you are creating an impact that reaches beyond what you can just see and is just within your daily circle/school/family, etc. God is moving in mighty ways!

  5. You are reaching and impacting more than you realize with this campaign. I echo what Chris said - Go, you abolitionist.

  6. The new abolitionist movement. Keep it up, sis.

  7. wow. I think that what you are doing to raise awareness is phenomenal. Found you through some other blogs...and just wanted to say, stay encouraged and keep going strong, girl. I'm inspired. :)


  8. My favorite line: I had gotten lost in my own narrow view of the darkness around me and forgotten that ultimately the war is already won and my God is victorious.

    I love you.

    Never forget Jesus.

  9. Thank you, Emily, for such a great reminder. This world sucks, but we have Hope.