LETTER: Choice to Rise Above
I recently read Escape from Slavery, the autobiography of a young Sudanese boy named Francis Bok that deeply impressed me. Stolen and kidnapped into a life of slavery in 1986 and separated from his family, he lost control over almost every area of his life. Yet in the midst of his suffering, he held onto hope and strove for something greater than his circumstance- his dream of freedom.
We, like Francis, have limited control over our circumstances and the trials we face. How do we endure extreme hardship and maintain hope? We must choose, as Francis did, to rise above the storms that assail us.
Many only wish for their desires be fulfilled, but Francis chose to make freedom his purpose. This purpose enabled him to press through the bondage and suffering to reach his goal of freedom in the United States.
Francis Bok had every right to give up and every reason to lose hope, but he did not. He saw hardship as an opportunity for growth. He chose not to allow his circumstance to rob him of his joy.
We lead privileged lives here in America. For many of us, the most extreme trials we will face are trivial compared to the slavery and oppression Francis Bok experienced. If a seven-year-old can endure such hardship, can we not bear our trials? If a slave can discover a dream in the midst of suffering, can we who are free not choose to rise above our storms and reach for something higher?
Jenna Weimer and her sophomore English Honors class read Escape from Slavery in February.