Tuesday, April 14, 2015

When raising awareness for all the enslaved girls is not optional


Tomorrow my baby brother Pedro turns 33 years old. As a gift to him, I write this post.

Pedro was four years old when he became my brother. Through adoption, he was welcomed into my family, finally leaving behind all the suffering, abuse and neglect he had been enduring. (His adoption story can be read here).



And this week, the hard truth hits me for the first time in my life: You see, my brother is the son of a prostitute. That far away foreign world from where he came from, the one I did not grew up inside, the deeply chained one by poverty, marginalization, sex trade, child abuse, human trafficking and drug business. This week it hit me that this distant world is also part of me, because it impacted and still impacts my life too, deeper than I had ever realized before.

The reason my brother cannot see, walk, speak and did not develop like other people, is heavily influenced by the fact that he was born on the wrong side of the tracks. The one where darkness is the norm; and light, the exception. And it hurts.


It hurts to know that someone so dear to my heart had to go through all that he did because he was conceived inside the wrong womb. The womb of a girl whose body did not belong to herself anymore. The girl that could have succeeded given the right circumstances. The girl that did not got to know love. The one not for sale.

My son is four years old. The boy that was born in the right womb. The boy that was born on the right side of the tracks. The boy that spent his first four years playing and laughing, instead of hurting, lacking and crying. My son did nothing to deserve being born in the right home as much as my brother did nothing to deserve being born in the wrong shack. But he was, and because that shack only knew darkness, he can only see darkness.


There is a light that is brighter than the darkest chains. What if I could go back in time and gently pull that girl out of the darkness? Share with her the good news that God loves her more than she ever knew? That there is true freedom, awaiting to break any chains?


What if I could go back even further in time? Make sure that such girl was loved, cared for and raised with dignity? Make sure she had enough food to eat, a good education and a safe roof over her head, so that she did not have to sell herself and bear boys headed for suffering?


What if it is not yet too late for all the other girls? For all the other Pedros? What if the cycle of slavery can be broken for girls, before it hurts even more? Before it takes the sight out of the children, the hope out of the future, and the beauty out of the story.


I am not proud to know that my country, Brazil, has more than 250.000 girls enslaved in the sex trade. Girls under 18 years old. Children being sold. And while I may be tempted to look the other way, I know deep inside that they are all part of me, there is no us and them. The chains affects us all.

My gift to my brother this birthday is to raise awareness to girls like his birth mother. So that no more boys inherit darkness the way he did.



Friday, April 3, 2015

When Easter is all about cracked eggs



You never hear enough about the cracked eggs. The ones that did not make it to the store, the ones that did not become cute little beings, the ones not chosen to be decorated on Easter activities.


Cracked eggs just don't look right. Out of the dozen, the cracked ones stand out as outliers. They usually rot pretty fast, start smelling bad, and are the first ones to be discarded. They are not pretty.


You never hear enough about the cracked people. The ones that did not make it in life, the ones that did not become someone dignified, the ones that were not chosen to be on display.

Cracked people just don't look right. Out of a crowd, the cracked ones stand out as outliers. They usually have rotten lives, sometimes they smell, and are the first ones to be discarded. They are not pretty in our eyes.

And yet, Easter is all about cracked eggs. Cracked people. Easter is about undecorated eggs, falling apart eggs and abandoned eggs. Made whole. Invited into a family. 


The tomb is empty, death overcome, salvation brought unto the world; and where is Jesus? He is sharing the biggest news of the entire Universe with a cracked woman. An outlier.

He was probably around there when John outrun Peter to reach the tomb. He was aware when Peter went inside the tomb and saw the linen cloths. However, he waited. He waited for the rush to be gone. He waited until the only ones left were Mary and her tears. 

He steps closer because blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. Mary knew about cracked eggs. She also knew about the One that brings cracked people back together.

He calls her. The first words of a resurrected redeemer are: "Woman, why are you weeping?" Weren't there any more important matters in the world, for the Son of God to deal with, after everything He had gone through? A crying woman, an outlier? 

When was the last time I reached for a cracked person and said: "Come, be part of my family." The drug addict, the prostitute, the robber, the homeless, the one out there. "Come, you are welcome to be part of my family".


That is what He says. "I am ascending to My Father and your Father", Mary. We are family now. You, the cracked woman that nobody cared about, and me, the most important being, the Creator of all things. We are family.

Where is God this Easter? He is still reaching for cracked people. One by one, bringing them into His family. And He also uses cracked people to do the job. He choses Mary to go and tell everybody else about the good news.


You may not have seen them on the newspaper or the magazine. Most times, when Jesus reaches for cracked people and when Jesus uses cracked people, there are usually few respectable people around to take note. And yet, in an upside down kingdom, Easter starts at the bottom, with the cracked ones.


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