The third book I had lined up to read in January was Christine Caine’s new book, Undaunted.
Caine has a fascinating life story which she draws from in the book as a means of explaining how it fuels the things she is involved in; specifically, in founding and directing the A21 Campaign, a global anti-slavery charity which cares for victims in Greece and is involved in awareness efforts worldwide.
I’m not going to focus too much on the trafficking stuff, rather, I was struck by how deliberately Caine uses her own suffering, sorrow and failures to enrich the lives of others. She seems unquenched in her desire to use things for good, to find meaning in disaster. Abused as a child, discovering in her thirties that she had been adopted, struggles in romantic relationships, a miscarriage – she has processed these things and channels the energy otherwise spent in anger or desolation into things she does for others. She writes about a visit to Auschwitz that provided her with a ‘lightbulb’ moment in terms of deciding what to focus her energy on, drawing parallels between the horrors of concentration camps & the treatment of the Jews during the war and the suffering of trafficking victims, relayed to her – almost by accident – one afternoon during a visit to Greece.
5 highlights for me (though as you can see, I took a fair few snapshots!):
“It has never been my desire to be daunted”. Caine displays a contagious zest for life and a daring spirit that is inspiring and heartening to read of. She does, however, break down reasons why we may feel daunted and a strong sense of compassion runs through the book, which makes it an appealing and not-overwhelming read.
“When you’re not lost, it’s hard to understand the urgency of someone needing to be found.” The book highlights the struggle for passion, or indeed for concern for others, to remain urgent or visceral: we get comfortable or we forget. But Caine also talks about relating our humanity and our experience of darkness to others’. She does this in a very humble way: I sometime struggle with people saying ‘they understand’ or they’ve been through something similar to someone else who has suffered much (when they really haven’t). She also writes about the need to be intentional, to pursue justice for others – especially when we don’t feel like it’s a popular or urgent idea.
“God doesn’t waste one experience of our lives”. I love the idea of humanity reaching out to humanity; that someone can look past their own sorrow to someone else’s and resolve to help them, because they understand their suffering, though perhaps only a fraction of it.
“As long as you live, you will have something to lose.” Caine talks about the risks she has taken in life so far: some have been very significant. Whilst she mentions the fact that often, risk-taking is unpopular and deemed slightly crazy, she also writes about those who have surrounded her and ‘jumped’ with her, highlighting the importance of relationship. I read the book as I was in London, in meetings with Stop the Traffik staff: and I was so grateful that they, and others, are the people I get to jump with.
“Waking up is rising ready with what we have, where we are.” Though many of her efforts have been toward very noble, grand goals like the abolition of slavery, I LOVE that Caine talks about the need to be mindful and present where we are, to do the small things well, to allow a thread to run through all we do. In my own life, trafficking enrages me because human beings are devalued through and within it. So I should be upholding human worth in everything that I do, not only in my anti-trafficking work. What is your ‘thread’?