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The Ever Expanding Loyal Family

I think most people are familiar with the 1960’s hit song ‘Turn! Turn! Turn! (To everything there is a season)’ by ‘The Byrds’… In fact, I’m betting most of you are humming the tune right now, am I right? If you’re not there yet, I’ll help you along with the lyrics:

To everything – turn, turn, turn

There is a season – turn, turn, turn

And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die

A time to plant, a time to reap

A time to kill, a time to heal

A time to laugh, a time to weep

 

To everything – turn, turn, turn

There is a season – turn, turn, turn

And a time to every purpose under heaven

 

A time to build up, a time to break down

A time to dance, a time to mourn

A time to cast away stones

A time to gather stones together

 

To everything – turn, turn, turn

There is a season – turn, turn, turn

And a time to every purpose under heaven

 

A time of love, a time of hate

A time of war, a time of peace

A time you may embrace

A time to refrain from embracing

 

To everything – turn, turn, turn

There is a season – turn, turn, turn

And a time to every purpose under heaven

 

A time to gain, a time to lose

A time to rend, a time to sew

A time for love, a time for hate

A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late!

Everyone will be able to relate to the truths tucked in here. Who hasn’t experienced the ups and downs of life? I certainly have. However, living here in Kolkata, I have felt these emotions intensify and follow one another in quick succession. I can be laughing with the ladies in the workshop, experiencing overflowing joy and happiness as I see them living in their newfound freedom, so amazed I am able to witness their transformation and restoration right before my eyes… only to walk down the street and see something that tears my heart apart and throws me into deep sorrow and mourning at the state of the world. It seems that every day here is a time to laugh and a time to weep, a time of dancing and a time of mourning, a time to love and a time to hate.

Watching the women we work alongside navigate all of these extreme seasons with such fluidity and courage has been humbling. They have an ability to go from rejoicing together to crying together with an acceptance and grace that leaves me somewhat stunned. My own ability to handle these changing extremes is growing, but it leaves me exhausted. It is a sobering thought that the resilience they have is due to the innumerable challenges and trials they have already faced in their lives. I look at the courage these woman have, and it leaves me with a deep sense of respect for them.

Many people thought we were crazy for taking our young family to a place like this. After all, we left holding a 7 month old in our arms! Why would we bring our family here? I couldn’t have shared this quote with you at the time, but it sums up so well what has been and is in my heart. It’s from Emma Lazarus, an American poet from the late 1800s. “Until we are all free, we are none of us free”. I had heard about ‘Freedom Business’ and everything in me had resonated with the concept – business not for the profit of it’s CEO’s and stakeholders, but for the freedom of those it employs. We knew we had to come and do our part to help others fight for their freedom. So here we are, now a part of the ever expanding Loyal family.

It is true that the Loyal family is expanding through the likes of Joel (as you would have read in the last blog post) and ourselves. But the reason we are all here, the really exciting and life changing way the family is growing, is by having new ladies join us. And I am so thrilled to be able to say that we have seven new ladies in their training phase. Seven brave, courageous, wonderful women that have said ‘yes’ to fighting for their freedom. The months ahead of them will be filled with even more to-ing and fro-ing between the highs and lows of the freedom journey, but I am confident that each one will only grow in strength through it all. Because that is what I have seen here. I have seen women who have been thrown on hard, dark times, rise to face the future with radiant smiles and determination that is, simply put, beautiful.

I know you will join with me in saying that I can’t wait to see the Loyal family grow even more. To see more lives touched, more women find their freedom, more families transformed. It is certainly a cause worth fighting for. It’s even worth shopping for, wouldn’t you agree?

#fightslavery #worthfightingfor #worthshoppingfor #theloyalworkshop