Do you see what I see? (A Christmas LASIK story)

Curious about LASIK? This is my story.

I don’t know how the genetic die roll, but somehow it worked out that out of three children born to two bespectacled parents, one of us needed glasses, and the other two didn’t.

Lucky me

I got my first pair of glasses twenty seven years ago: massive plastic frames with pale pink and blue rims. There were times I liked wearing glasses, but many more times I didn’t. However, not liking how they looked was not a good reason to jettison them, because I liked how I could look through them. I like being able to read: both books and faces.

I won’t walk you through my entire optical medical history, but I’ll fast forward to a year ago, when I asked my optometrist whether I might be a candidate for LASIK surgery. He said I might, but when I asked him more about how many patients he’d referred before, his answers did not give me confidence. I decided to give contact lenses another go.

Fast forward another year, and two things happened within a week. First: I lost my prescription sunglasses. For a pale-eyed gal living in sunny California, this was devastating. Then, in a characteristic rough-and-tumble-love moment with my kids,  my glasses got knocked off my face (again), and the ear pieces got bent (again), and the kind technician who bent them back (again) warned me that this pair was on its last legs.

I thought about LASIK surgery again – this procedure where rather than getting corrective lenses to wear on top of my poorly curved eyes, they would use lasers to correct the curve of my eyes. It turned out there was a highly recommended surgeon nearby, and the initial consult was free.

I went. I was thoroughly evaluated and educated about the procedure. I was impressed.

A generous family windfall made it financially possible to explore it, and so I decided to take the leap. (Happy birthday and merry christmas to me!) After another appointment to take more exact measurements and map the shape of my eye, and two days later, my husband took me in for the one hour appointment.

This is what happened: I signed a terrifying waiver form, acknowledging that there was a minuscule chance that things could go poorly and that I was aware of these things.  Then the assistant came and gave me a valium to help me relax, and I joked that she should have given it to me before making me read the waiver form. Haha, she said, great idea – except that would be totally illegal.

After a quick reassessment of my eyes and a couple rounds of drops in my eyes, I was ushered into a room with a reclining chair and two big machines. I laid back and was swiveled to the machine on the left. “Look at the light, and relax”, said the doctor. He explained there would be a bit of suction, talked me through every noise and little light I was seeing and until suddenly everything looked gray, and seconds later, he swiveled me out from under the machine. “Done,” he said – we’ve lifted the flap on your right eye.

What? Seriously? Already??? That was SO FAST!!

I hadn’t quite realized it, but that first machine was the laser which put micro bubbles on the surface of the eye, allowing them to lift the outer flap without using any blades. The second eye went just as quickly – and the world seemed cloudy as I swiveled from the left machine to the right one. For a moment, I wondered if that was what the world looked like if you had cataracts. Or maybe, for the man whom Jesus had healed who (at first) only saw partially: “I can see people, walking around looking like trees,” he’d said.

Under the second machine, my eyelashes were taped out of the way, my head steadied, and I needed to be reminded to breathe. I thought once again how grateful I am to have gone through natural childbirth a few times and to have learned how to breathe and to RELAX. (Going to the dentist has been SO MUCH better since having kids. Now while I’m in the dentists’ chair I practice all my deep breathing and relaxing techniques… some dental technicians find the sighing a little alarming but most have been impressed :-) )

So… aided by Valium and a little Lamaze, I relaxed. Or at least, worked very, very hard at relaxing as best I could since my mind was swimming. But there was no time to overthink it: “look at the light,” he said, “then you’ll hear some hissing, then a snap, and then just keep on looking at the light… fifteen seconds… and you’ll smell some burning.” Where the ring of red lights had been I could see a black dot appearing in the middle, as if a candle was being held underneath a piece of paper and am orange-edged dark ring was slowly developing above the flame.

“That’s it. Perfect,” came the voice, and he swiveled me out from under the chair. He carefully lifted the flap back over my eyes and lined up the little dots he had made with a permanent marker on my eyeball just minutes before. The world swam back into slow focus. “You’re 3/4 of the way done.” he said, “now make a fist.” I made a fist, confused. “Now take your thumb and raise it to the roof.” I raised my thumb and realized I was making a thumbs up sign. “That’s to let your husband know you’re okay,” he said, and I smiled, remembering once again that my husband was just a few feet away, watching the entire thing through a screen.

Less than 5 minutes later, the second eye was done, and I sat up and walked out into the room. The entire thing had taken less than 15 minutes, and was utterly painless.

The doctor put clear plastic shields over my eyes to keep me from touching them, and gave me a packet of drops to keep my eyes lubricated. “Do you drink?” he asked. I nodded. “Go home and have a glass of wine. Better yet, have two. We want you to sleep and keep your eyes closed for a while and let those flaps close.”

My husband drove me home and I greeted my friend who was watching my kids. I marveled at how well I was ALREADY able to see, even though the plastic lenses. Drinking wine at 10am seemed a terrible thought, so I downed a small glass of whisky and headed upstairs. I plugged in an audio book, and drifted in and out of sleep for several hours, each time awaking to put eye drops in, and marveling each time at how much crisper the world looked than it had just an hour before.

(For the record: I now totally understand how people get addicted to Valium and alcohol. It is a very relaxed state of mind. Sheesh!)

I kept listening to my audio book, keeping my eyes as closed as possible that first day, and I slept well that night. The following morning, I took off my eye shields and watched my son walk from his bed on the other side of the landing across to me – something I have never been able to do before. “I can see you! I can see you! I can see you!” I said. “Oh my goodness! I can see you!” I said, and tousled his hair. Full of sleepy preschooler sass, he climbed into my arms and mumbled, “Oh mom, stop saying I can see you.”

Minutes later, his sister trod the same route and I shouted “I can see you! I can see you!” as she got closer. “Mom!” urged my son,  “when are you going to stop saying that?”

Not for a while yet, I thought.

Less than 24 hours after the surgery, I drove myself to the post-op check up, marveling at how well I could see. My eye exam revealed that I already had better than 20/20 vision, and it was only going to improve as the healing continued. The doctor met my broad smile with a smile of his own: his is rewarding work, in more ways than one.

Here is the most surprising thing I discovered having LASIK surgery: how many, many people have had it done. I posted a picture of my 11-year old bespectacled self on Facebook the day before the surgery and told friends this was my “last day with glasses”. I got more than a dozen messages from friends I see regularly saying they’d had it done and were so thrilled with the results. I had no idea how many people I already knew who had had it done.

Here was the most difficult thing for me about having LASIK: overcoming the anxiety of the “what ifs”. But hearing about the thousands of people this particular surgeon has worked on (with zero serious incidents), and also the few dozen of people I already knew who had had it done helped a lot.

Here was the most practical challenge about having LASIK: arranging childcare. I am so grateful for kind friends who once again loved me and my family through something.

Today is my 3rd day since the surgery. I can’t wear mascara yet, and I still have to put in eye drops and wear protective eye shields at night for a few more days. But oh glory! I can see! I can see! I can see!!

And if I lose my sunglasses, now I can just buy another pair at the corner store. And when I hug my husband, I can snuggle into his shoulder without needing to position my face just right so that my glasses don’t get squashed. And if we get to go snorkeling or scuba diving again, I will be able to put on goggles and actually SEE the coral and fish below the surface. Oh glory! I can see!

Throughout, I have been thinking about how physical eyesight is compared with spiritual eyesight: how being able to “see” Jesus – of grasping who he really is – is like the miracle of going from blindness to sight. If I had ever begun to take it for granted that I have come to know and love God, this surgery was a fresh reminder. If all you saw was blurry before, it is no small thing to wake up one morning and discover you can see the stark edges of winter twigs and count the eyelashes on your loved ones’ faces.

Seeing – be it seeing Jesus, or seeing the world he has made – in all its detailed beauty, is a precious thing.

This Christmas, I’m so very, very grateful for the gift of sight.

 

Photo credit: Vision of Eyechart with Glasses (Ken Teagarden) – Flickr Creative Commons.

Re-Inventing Christmas

Re-InventingChristmas

It’s “the season” – the time of all things Christmassy. My house is decorated to an acceptably-low standard, my pants are cutting into my cookie-consumer waist, Nat King Cole is crooning a Yule-tide tune on Pandora. It’s beginning to look a LOT like Christmas.

And yet, people are complaining about “the war against Christmas”. Apparently, materialism and Santa are trying to edge in against Christ’s rightful place in the season. They will know we are Christians by the way we don’t say “Happy Holidays”, and all that. As with many of the culturally “big” holidays, I have some mixed feelings about it.

christmasgiftsPersonally, we have not told our kids about Santa. This decision also means I need to give my 6 year old a “don’t tell the other kids that Santa isn’t real and make them cry” pep talk before she goes for play dates at this time of the year. So far though, we are doing okay. Santa stories and Santa hats are fun, but there are no gifts from Santa under our tree. We do have a tree. We will eat ham. We will sing carols and go to a Christmas Eve service. We will exchange gifts. We will read the story of Jesus’ birth out loud to our children, and thank God for the gift of Emmanuel.

But having said all that, I’m still not willing to “defend” the Christian Christmas, because as far as I understand – we kind of invented it anyway. And rather than fight for Christmas “as it used to be” in the beginning, I want to put my energies into re-inventing it in the present.

Before you throw a candy cane in my direction, let me explain.

Believers have a long history of  ascribing spiritually significant meaning to celebrations. We are by nature people who look for meaning throughout the calendar. We celebrate rites of passage and comings-of-age. There are things we are commanded to remember (like taking communion), but there are also things we have the freedom to commemorate and remember, and to invest such acts with culturally significant meaning. Humanity has a history of creating traditions and turning them into “teachable moments” for the years to come. We do it in families (think of birthdays), in countries (think of Thanksgiving), in politics (think of MLK day). And we do it in spiritual communities too.

In his relationship with Israel, God commanded a number of specific “commemorative” festivals in their calendar to focus their attention and center their community. They were to remember the Exodus over Passover. They were to remember their need for the forgiveness of sin at Yom Kippur with the Day of Atonement. There were feasts for remembrance and celebration, commanded by God and commemorated by his people.

purim Over and above the mandated ones, though, the Hebrews also added festivals of celebration to their calendar. Both Hannukah and Purim were established by Rabbinic decree to commemorate significant times of deliverance.   The feast of Purim (for the Hebrew word “pur”, which means “lot”, as in “the casting of the lots”, as in “it was a risky thing”) celebrates the deliverance of the Jewish people which is recorded in the book of Esther. While God’s name is not mentioned in the book, it is included in the Canon of Scripture and God was clearly and rightly credited for having providentially raised up Esther “for such a time as this” in order to save his people.

Esther 9:20-28 records how Purim was established:

Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far, 21 to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar 22 as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor.

23 So the Jews agreed to continue the celebration they had begun, doing what Mordecai had written to them. 24 For Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them and had cast the pur (that is, the lot) for their ruin and destruction. 25 But when the plot came to the king’s attention, he issued written orders that the evil scheme Haman had devised against the Jews should come back onto his own head, and that he and his sons should be impaled on poles. 26 (Therefore these days were called Purim, from the word pur.) Because of everything written in this letter and because of what they had seen and what had happened to them, 27 the Jews took it on themselves to establish the custom that they and their descendants and all who join them should without fail observe these two days every year, in the way prescribed and at the time appointed. 28 These days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family, and in every province and in every city. And these days of Purim should never fail to be celebrated by the Jews—nor should the memory of these days die out among their descendants.

Purim celebrates God’s rescue, but it was believing Jews who took the initiative to remember it.

I see Christmas as our own kind of “Purim”. God did not command and create Purim – His thankful children did as a way to remember and honor him. And just as Purim was “invented” by the Jews to remember God’s deliverance during the time of Queen Esther, maybe there is space for us to affirm that it is okay to have “invented” Christmas, even though it had Pagan origins. Yes, Christmas has Yule-tide origins around the pagan  winter solstice. Yes, Saturnalia, Juvenalia and Mithra the sun god have longer cultural credentials for the month of December than Jesus, who most certainly was NOT born on December 25th.

But, in a way similar to Mordecai, perhaps, Pope Julius I decreed that once a year, on December 25th, the church should remember and celebrate the wonderful truth that God had come to earth: born of a virgin, born as a baby, born under the law to redeem those who were bound by it.

Christmas celebrates God’s rescue, but believing Christians took the initiative to remember it.

Year by year, following the saints who have gone before us, we choose to invest December with meaning and set aside time to remember the wonder of the incarnation. When we choose a time of year to give gifts (and remember the Gift), to decorate trees (and remember the Shoot from the stump of Jesse), to put up stars (and remember the Star) and hang wreaths – we are not being cheesy cultural plagiarists. Rather, we are doing what people of Faith have done through the ages: using our freedom and creativity to create space for us to remember, to celebrate and to give thanks.

 

(Updated from the archives)

 

Who put the X in Xmas?

who put the x in Christmas?

I have a page of notes in front of me: preparation for a talk from the Psalms and the Gospel of John. The page is full of tiny writing, and – in keeping with the shorthand custom I learned while at seminary – has no small amount of X’s and Θ’s.

Why?

The Greek word for God is ΘΕΟΣ (Theos), and so I write the first letter, a Theta (Θ) as a shorthand for God.

Similarly, the Greek word for Christ is ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ (Christos), and so I write the first letter, a Chi (Χ) as a shorthand for Christ.

The Early Christians did the same thing. The reason that the Fish became an emblem for early Christianity was not because of the large number of fisherman among the early disciples. The reason early Christians identified with a fish was because it had credal value. The Greek word for fish, ΙΧθΥΣ (Ichthus, from which we get ichthyology, the study of fish), also became an acronym for the foundational truths of the faith. The early Christians were the ones who believed in Jesus Christ, the Son of God (and) Savior).

In Greek, you would write those words this way:

IΕΣΥΣ (Jesus)

ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ (Christ)

θΕΟΥ (of God)

ΥΙΟΣ (Son)

ΣΩΤΗΡ (Savior)

Put the first letters together… and it spells “fish”.

ichthus

So, this is just to say that I’m one of those Christians who has a list in my house that say “Xmas presents”. And I mean nothing but honor in writing it this way.

Just in case anyone was wondering.

 

Photo Credit: Jim – Ixthus door at Brite (Flickr Creative Commons)

When my heart is heavy before Christmas

When your heart feels too heavy to celebrate Christmas, remember this... "Long lay the world, in sin and error pining."On Sunday morning I shuffled into church alone and very, very gloomy. My husband had volunteered to stay home with crying boys #1 and #2, and I had fled the scene with my daughter, wondering all the way what good it would do me to go and inflict my miserable self on a community filled with Christmas cheer. I had, however, promised to give someone a ride to church, and so bunking church was not an option. I drove. I arrived. I grouched.

I wrestled.

I’m not feeling the joy of Christmas right now. The beautifully decorated room with its proclamations of joy and exulting poinsettias were a little jarring to my Eeyore-self. We started singing songs, and I tried hard to focus on the words I knew my soul needed not just to sing but to absorbsongs about hope and peace and a good God being at the helm of it all.

But my heart was heavy, carrying more burdens than our souls are meant to bear: broken marriages, moms with toddlers grieving the deaths of their husbands, Ebola, and ISIS, and the stinging betrayal of Bill Cosby’s rape allegations. The hurt and anger and brokenness of Ferguson, the tragedy of children being sold for sex right in our community.

Everything is so very, very broken. 

I stood in church, wondering what in the world I was doing singing about joy when I could feel the darkness pressing against me so heavily. How could I possibly begin to prepare myself, or my family, for Advent, feeling such a terrible dearth of Christmas cheer?

I considered how terribly unprepared I was for Advent. And then it occurred to me that, just maybe, this was the best possible place to prepare for Advent.

“long lay the world, in sin and error pining”

Advent rehearses the history of those waiting for the God’s promised King: pining in darkness, acutely aware of sin and error and the devastation they bring… no, we bring… all around. ‘Pining’ was the perfect descriptor of where my soul was at: longing for things to be different, needing a hero.

We sang and sang, and a precious family got up to light the first advent candle: hope.

“long lay the world, in sin and error pining…. ’til He appeared”

The grief we feel for the brokenness of the world is a real and raw thing. But, as 1 Thessalonians says, “we do not grieve as those without hope.” Somehow, Advent is a call to me to not let my eyes become too accustomed to the darkness all around, but to train my eyes on the Light which has entered our darkness.

God has not abandoned our world. He did not forget his promises to Israel: he sent Jesus. And he has not abandoned our world now. Contrary to those who say that Jesus has gone to heaven and we are simply biding time in this cursed world until we join him, the scripture teaches that Jesus is returning to this world to finish the rescue he began two thousand years ago.

I sat through the sermon and felt my hope bolstered: in this time of waiting we are not just called to be faithful people, we are called to be people of faith. Advent it not just about being faithful to do the right things, and to do them in the right way. It is about being people who believe in a God whose love affair with this world and us crazy creatures continues through the darkest centuries.

His people waited in the darkness, and He came.

And so, this Advent, I’m waiting in the darkness. He came. And He’s coming again.

Photo credit: Rosipaw 332/365 first advent (Flickr Creative Commons), edited by Bronwyn Lea

Bright, Lucky and Sweet – {Heather Caliri}

Oh, I so love this guest post from Heather Caliri. Moms: listen up to my friend’s words.

Encouragement for moms: spiky, scary beginnings truly can become something bright, lucky and sweet.

 

My sister called on a day that wasn’t working.

My three-month old daughter was supposed to nap at noon. Like most nights, I hadn’t slept well, and was exhausted instead of rested in the morning. I was hungry for sleep at 9, yearning by 10:23, biding time anxiously at 11:15 and 11:37.

When noon came around, I lay down with my baby in our big bed and tried to be patient while she fell asleep.

Except she didn’t.

Desperate, I tried, and tried again while she turned from side to side and gurgled and fussed when I didn’t pick her up to play.

Every minute that passed, I ran through why she wasn’t falling asleep. I’d gotten five different books on sleep, and tried, in my exhaustion, to decide which of the methods I should follow. All of them had suggestions, many conflicting, and all of them would need a level of commitment and sanity from me that I hadn’t had since before my child was born. I didn’t feel skillful enough or brave enough to do anything, but if I didn’t do something, I—well, I didn’t know what I’d do.

A year later, I’d see my darkness for what it was: depression. But at the time, I couldn’t see clearly enough to understand why my brain was going haywire.

All I knew was at the moment, the house felt like a cage.

My daughter fretted, and I fretted, and then I scooped her up, almost ran outside, and put her in the stroller.

Just as I rolled around the corner on our street, my cell phone rang. My sister, Katie.

“How are you?” she asked. Her voice sounded far away, cheerful. It made me want to cry.

“She didn’t sleep,” I said, my voice bitter. “She was just supposed to take a nap, and she didn’t, and I don’t know why.”

“Oh, honey, I’m sorry,” Katie said. “You’re doing great. You’re a great mom.”

My sister knew from motherhood—her own daughter was ten—but I shrugged my shoulders as if to flick off her affirmation before it sank in. “I feel like I’m doing everything wrong,” I said. “I feel like there’s something I could do that would make everything better—and I keep messing it up. I just wish I knew what to do.”

“Oh, Heather,” she said. “Oh, honey, you’re not doing anything wrong.”

“But I just—I read these books, and they have ideas, and I try them, and they kind of work, but then they don’t and I—“

“Heather, it’s just hard,” Her voice had changed. Instead of being reassuring, it was hot, emphatic. Suddenly I remembered that when her own daughter was small Katie had struggled too. Suddenly, I didn’t feel like shrugging her off.

She continued. “Sometimes with babies there’s nothing you can do. It’s not that you’re doing it wrong. It’s just hard.”

I considered her words. The idea that the exhaustion I felt wasn’t because of my bungling was like a small seed planted in my heart. It sent out tendrils into dry soil. The movement felt good. It felt like hope.

Katie’s voice softened again. “You’re doing the best you can,” she said. “You’re just doing your best. And that is okay.”

I breathed in, and breathed out, and noticed that the fall light was golden through the hedge on my left. In a year, my daughter would be walking, and we’d toddle along this very stretch of sidewalk.  We’d find hundreds of ladybugs on the leaves of the sage-green bushes. Strange ladybugs, orange and light yellow and only an occasional red.

On the same branches, we’d find thorny, odd bugs, long as my fingernail, black and orange. I’d avoid them, sure they were poisonous.

But then I’d discover that the ugly bugs were simply ladybug larvae, repulsive in their infancy. I would not believe how much a ladybug could change. That a spiky, scary beginning could become something bright, lucky, and sweet.

I realized I’d been clutching the phone with aching fingers. I loosened my grip. “Thank you,” I said, meaning it. “Thank you. I needed to hear that.”

“You’re welcome,” Katie said. “I love you so much.”

She hung up, and I kept walking, getting ever closer to my own transformation.

 

h bio pic_june 2014 edits-1Heather Caliri is a writer from San Diego. She started saying yes to joy in her faith and was surprised to find that joy led straight to Jesus. Her new journal for people anxious about the Bible is called Unquiet Time: A devotional for the rest of us. She blogs at heathercaliri.com, or you can find her on Twitter (@heathercaliri) or on Facebook

 

 

Photo Credit: Ladybug Larva/Eric Begin (Flickr Creative Commons), edited by Bronwyn Lea.

Pick of the Clicks 11/22/14

A quick hello and round up of EXCELLENCE from the web, and then I am off to celebrate the weekend. Enjoy…

First, this PSA from my friend April Fiet:

1487440_10152370248665940_6397372991746569603_n

I usually close the pick of the clicks with a link to whatever was the most read on my blog this week, but this week I’m starting with my favorite link for the week – an artistic rendering from Corrie Haffly based on this week’s 5-day #ACourageousOne series. Corrie took a quote from each of this week’s posts about trafficking, and turned them into haunting, beautiful images. Whether you read none, one, or all of this week’s posts – take a look at Corrie’s gallery on Sex Trafficking Awareness as part of her NaNoDrawMo project (and share it!)

Other links I loved this week:

I am generally not a fan of closed captioning, but this music video is arguably the funniest I’ve ever come across:

And this little gem of a video has Grover of Sesame Street learning about Autism from a sweet big sister:

That’s all for this week. What caught your eye? What did you write or unearth which deserves to be shared? Leave a comment below!

Thanks for reading, and happy clicking!

A Letter to Men

LetterToMen

Dear Men,

A few months ago, a conversation on Twitter got my attention. Using the hashtag #YesAllWomen, women shared incredible and awful stories of ways in which they had been harassed, marginalized, ridiculed, leered at and exploited by men.

Yes, all women.

Soon the conversation changed, and people began to respond with #NotAllMen hashtags. Not all men are rapists. Not all men are addicted to pornography. Not all men pay for sex. Not all men disrespect and degrade women.

No, not all men.

This letter is for you: the not all men. And I’m writing to say We Need You. And, Please Help.

I am just beginning to uncover how close to home some very dark things are. Vulnerable women and children are being trafficked in our neighborhoods: they are preyed on and prostituted, and I didn’t know that so many of those who seem to be prostitutes are, in fact, victims who are drugged, manipulated and abused to be there.

Economics 101 teaches us that supply meets demand. This is true in the sex industry too. I didn’t know (and maybe you didn’t either) that the primary demographic of those buying sex are white, middle-class, well-educated, white-collar workers. Women and children are being trafficked to supply the demands of the very people society deems to be the most respectable.

But not all men are like that, which is why we need your help.

If you are a man who is white, or middle-class, or well-educated, or white-collar (or any combination of those descriptions), then you have a voice with these men that we don’t. You may not know who they are, exactly, but they’re among the every day guys at work, in class, at the gym, at the game. They’re the guys on the golf green, and at your business conference.

Women talk differently around women than when men are around, and men talk differently around men than when women are around. When women are around, men are less likely to suggest a couple of hours of entertainment at a strip club, or to make lewd remarks about how they’d like to “see her naked”.

Perhaps you hear men around you talk like that, and you find it uncomfortable. It might be funny, but it’s not who you are – so you say nothing. You let it go, finish your drink, and make your way home. I want you to know first of all that I really respect you not taking them up on the invitation.

But I am writing to ask you to do more. I’m asking you to please speak up and take a stand that it’s not okay to speak to women or about women like that. To point out that the massage parlor or gentlemen’s club they’re suggesting probably has trafficked women or children working there – did they know that? To say that prostitution may not mean what they think it means. To say you’ve heard some stories from women who worked the streets and it has changed your opinion on what was really going on there.

But maybe you don’t even need to say that much. A man saying something like “hey, that’s not cool,” in response to a “guy’s joke” might not seem like much, but it means so much.

If you stay silent, you may have protected your own character in that situation, but your silence is interpreted as indifference. “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing,” wrote Bonhoeffer. The sex trafficking industry relies on secrecy to thrive, and when we fail to say something, we allow it to keep its secrets. Our silence become complicity.

Art by Corrie Haffly.

Art by Corrie Haffly

Please, don’t let the sexist joke go unchallenged.

Please, don’t let the guy next to you jest about “showing her who’s boss” without speaking up.

Please, don’t stay silent when someone makes a “movie suggestion”. The line between pornography and trafficking is a very thin on.

Please, if you are on a business trip and are invited out for an evening of entertainment, don’t just say “no thanks” and walk away. Say, “You shouldn’t go either.” Perhaps even invite them to do something else.

There are men in our communities who are predators and pedophiles. But not all men are like that. You are not like that. So I’m asking you: will you please be our protectors? Would you be a voice of conscience to the men around you?

For my sake. For my daughters sake. For all the #YesAllWomen,

Please, speak up.

We need you.


End-New-3DChris and Beth Bruno have written a FREE E-BOOK entitled End: Engaging Men to End Sex Trafficking. Download your copy today.

I am grateful to the Brunos for offering this resource as part of the #ACourageousOne project.


This #ACourageousOne project is a 5-day series of blog posts to raise awareness, money and hope about the reality of sex trafficking right around us. There are tens of thousands of invisible women and children – courageous ones – in need of rescue and restoration.

We can help. This week, support a courageous one by giving #ACourageousOne of your own:

  • Donate ONE DOLLAR to fight sex trafficking (here, here, or here, if you need a suggestion.)
  • Pray for ONE MINUTE for God to rescue victims, and give courage to women and men to speak and act as we ought. (Here is a Psalm to meditate on, as a suggestion)
  • Share ONE POST on social media to raise awareness about this issue. This is happening in our communities, so if we speak up within our communities, someone directly involved is going to hear.

Thank you for supporting the thousands of courageous ones with your Courageous One. We can make a difference!