Sunshine on Athens
Have you ever heard the song "Sunshine on Leith", by The Proclaimers? It's one of my favourites. Some of the lyrics go like this:
"My heart was broken,
my heart was broken,
This afternoon, my heart was broken as I listened to the story of a lady, A. She recounted how she left her war-torn country, in hope of a better, safer life. After 6 years in Athens, much of that hope has gone. She has lived in a notorious camp, then on a farm where they had to drink worm-infested water and were exploited - hard work for a pittance pf pay. The owner of the farm offered her money, lots of it, to take one or more of her children. Yes, human trafficking extends even to as-yet-unborn children - she was offered money for the baby she was carrying. Now, she and her husband and 5 young children live in a hostel in one room.
The reason for this: no papers that declare their refugee status, so they cannot work. No benefits. Any work has to be illegal, so they can be exploited by unscrupulous 'employers'. But how else can they pay their rent? And food? It's a vicious cycle. In addition, without a permanent address (and if they do not pay for their hostel room they risk life on the streets, which they have already experienced) the children cannot be registered for school. So they spend time in a park down the road, where at least the kids can run and have some fun, or huddled together, all 7 of them, in one room.
This lady is depressed, on medication, has already attempted to take her own life in her fear, hopelessness and despair.
This is heart-breaking. This is why we need the to set up this Trauma Healing coffeeshop as soon as possible, for people like her to find a place for her heavy story to be shared and her burden lifted.
The song goes on:
'My heart was broken My heart was broken You saw it, you claimed it You touched it, you saved it
My tears are drying My tears are drying Thank you, thank you Thank you, thank you
My tears are drying My tears are drying Your beauty and kindness Made tears clear my blindness..."
The only one who can bring this true healing and sow beauty into broken lives is Jesus. But He also uses people's skills of counselling, listening and psychology to help unravel painful tangles and bring about life-change. For this lady, the night may be dark and filled with tears, but joy WILL come in the morning. May that morning come soon.