By Ruth Limkin
The contrast was stark. I was jogging on the treadmill, on the last night of a long and busy week.
The music was humming and the fluorescent lights of the gym were overhead. (Why it’s fluorescent and not soft and gracious lighting I will never know.)
It had been a long week but a good one – filled with hard work and late hours, with opportunities to help people, with coffee, with chocolate and even laughter.
I had summoned up the energy to exercise knowing I had just a week before a charity fun run I am doing. Given I don’t run very well, preparation is key.
As I jogged, the ‘in-treadmill tv’ featured a news report detailing the fading hope that the 273 girls kidnapped from a Nigerian school would ever be found. By now, the report continued, it’s likely they have been separated and sold off to a life of slavery – both sexual and domestic.
It’s a story that makes me sick to my stomach. They were at school. School should not be the gateway to slavery, yet those with hearts gripped by evil stole them and sold them.
And their mothers are weeping.
Still jogging, I watched the report. Journalists told the stories of the girl’s mothers and revealed their pain. The interviews showed both their absolute anguish and their emotional exhaustion, with tears silently sliding down their faces, hardly even being wiped away anymore.
And I was jogging on the treadmill, music humming and fluorescent lights overhead, after what was quite a satisfying week. The contrast was stark.
The mothers who weep remind me that I am among the most fortunate in the world – to live where I do, with the resources that I have.
They remind me to live aware, not oblivious.
They remind me to use my freedom well – to serve and not for self.
Today I write to remember the stolen daughters and their mothers who weep.
Today I also write to remind myself of my obligation and opportunity – to use what I have to make my world a better place, from Nigeria to my neighbourhood.