8.21.2013

Accidental Activist


Ooh dang! I almost forgot to tell you about the scariest and most dangerous part of last month's trip.

Probably because I blocked it from my memory. The terror was too great. The fear too unbearable. The murderous rage welling in my gut for the man who put my life at risk was too... too... uneffingchristian.

It was three pastors and me who met at the church that morning to be picked up by an airport shuttle service. Three pastors and me whose trip almost ended before it began, the four of us clinging for dear life to the pleather seats of a long white van being driven by a crazed lunatic. One of those pastors was my husband and we looked lovingly into each others eyes and texted our tender goodbyes, first to our kids, then to each other.... “I love you. I'll be in your heart. ...Sue the shuttle company.”

We shared grave looks with each other as we floated in the air above our seats, launched from a speed bump at 85mph. We were all thinking the same thing, Pshhh. Surely, God wouldn't kill three pastors and a faith blogger all at once. But when our butts slammed back down, our brains rattling from the force of it, we began to suspect that He could easily dispatch one or two of us. Oh man, we recalled, His ways are not our ways.

By some real life miracle, we all lived, but I didn't walk away without a mark.

I think it happened when we screeched around a freeway offramp on two wheels, but it could have been when we flew, Dukes of Hazard style, off a curb. All I know is that when we left, I was wearing a brand new white t-shirt, and when we arrived, I was wearing a brand new white t-shirt with a big brown coffee stain. Right...on...the boob.

I've never wanted to kiss the ground before, but getting out of that guys basement cemetery hostel white van was one of the happiest moments of my life – immediately ruined by the realization that I would now get to travel 30 hours across the globe sporting a boob stain.

You know why? Because my life is all kinds of undignified.

And that's how I began my career as an activist. “We have a responsibility,” I hissed, “to report that mad man to his boss! That guy is a walking death trap. Do you hear me?! A DEATH TRAP! Someone will die if we don't stand up and do something.”

“Oh. And also? HE SPILLED COFFEE ON MY BOOB.”

Day 1.  Aaand 2. 

So I got on a plane with three pastors and a boob stain, and I did my best to hide it by covering it with my hair. Which means not only did I travel thirty hours with an embarrassing stain, I also traveled 30 hours with my hair down. (Dudes. This is like a really big deal.) I arrived in Cambodia, a beat down slob with stringy hair and bad breath, that death defying van ride a distant memory, if not for the constant reminder from the dark blobs on my upper right side. “We almost died!”, my boob seemed to cry out.

I know you feel bad for me. You should. A boob stain is no laughing matter.


But I learned something from this experience. (I'm a faith blogger, so that's pretty much what I do.)
I learned that to be an activist, you have to actually... y'know... act.

WHAT?! I know.

It's not enough to be outraged by indignity. It's not enough to feel passionate about injustice. It's not enough to raise awareness. I think it's Bob Goff who says, “Thinking about doing something is not the same as doing something.” And he's right. We can tweet and blog and share stuff on Facebook, but those things don't make us activists, they make us passivists. No, not pacifists - passivists, as in we just pass things along because we find them sad or scary or wrong or however emotional, but we never actually do anything. It's all for nothing if we never give our hands, or our time, or ~God forbid~ our money to the things that we care about. It's worthless if we never act.

I got on a plane enraged about a bad driver and a stupid coffee stain. 
I got off a plane enraged about humans being enslaved and abused the world over.

So I did what I usually do, I ranted and raved and then I passed the info on.

I told the story. I'm a faith blogger... so that's pretty much... what I do. *sigh*

But this time I knew that if I didn't act, my words would have no value. The story I told would be consumed and enjoyed by people who get off on these kinds of things – people like you and me. People who inadvertently participate in the exploitation of children (and women with boob stains) by eating up their stories, passing them along, and never doing a damn thing about it. Good people who mean well, but either don't know how to help, or, if we're being honest, don't want to help because helping usually calls for some kind of icky sacrifice.

So I acted, for once. Then I invited you to act with me.

And your response was so quick and so generous that in just one week (ONE WEEK!!!) we pulled together the resources to fully fund a team of investigators fighting slavery in SE Asia through The Exodus Road. Plus, many more individuals were spurred to get up and act in defiance of trafficking and slavery in their own backyards.

How cool is that?!

A coffee stain showed me that activism matters. And then you guys showed me that activism works.

I may be an accidental activist - but I'm an activist, all the same. 

…. …. ….

Are you an activist? Do you wanna be? Is it time to stop thinking and start doing?