The Fire and the Flood

19 March 2014 Who am I?

What difference can I make?

“You're just a minnow in a huge ocean."

Honest and true words, spoken in the tone of a realist.

Alone, I am small.

But am I insignificant?

What can one person do?

Am I on a wild goose chase?


Have you ever felt simply and utterly compelled to do something?

In the face of proverbial overwhelming odds?

But ...

What if?

What if one becomes three?

What if three become 30?

And 30 become 300?

What can 300 do?

(My friend, both history teacher and film fan can tell you.)

I am only one.

But ...

I can’t not.

I simply cannot not.

I must.

I am compelled.

The same woman that said, "No one is free until everybody is free," also said,

"Three people are better than no people.”

And I am not alone.

In some ways, I feel like I am late to the fight.

Many fires are already burning.

Not only people in large and small, domestic and international non-profits, but people in governments and corporations and small businesses and schools and universities. And in communities and families and twos and threes. And Tim and Emma.

Yes, Tim and Emma. Two young people you’ve never heard of. Inconsequential? (I do not think that word means what you think it means.) Who have been getting together with a group of 7 people for two years. Who hosted a screening of a movie followed by a panel with the London Metropolitan Police, IJM, Hope for Justice & Sophie Hayes Foundation.

Tim & Emma.

Who put up posters and passed out postcards.

Who kept striking flint to tinder.

And rekindled a spark.

In me.

Bring on the reinforcements.

Three people that care are better than no people that care.

Find two allies, friends, brothers and sisters in arms.

Light a fire where you are with what you have.

Am I a minnow? Perhaps.

Do I feel like one? Often.

But, I am a spark.

Only a single spark.

Alone, I cannot light a pitch dark room.

Alone, I give no warmth.

There are many things I cannot do alone, but I can light a flame that becomes a torch. I can be blown across rivers, over walls, through chain links and behind bars … until beacon fires burn in villages and cities, until a wildfire sweeps across fields filled with thorns.

I am potential.

Within me is the fire … and the flood.

I know there is a flood within me because every time I think about or write about modern slavery, the floodgates open.

A tear. Then weeping. Sobbing. Sometimes uncontrollably. In public.

There is a spark of life in every woman, man and child in slavery.

Perhaps it is only smoldering.

Being smothered.

Almost extinguished.

There is a spark in you, too.

(As I write these words, tears roll slowly down my cheeks. I’m sobbing ... in public again. I can’t not.)


Who am I?




I feel like it.



What difference can I make?

A spark.

A drop.

By themselves, almost imperceptible.


Without the spark, there is no fire. Without the drop, there is no ocean.

Let us become the fire & the flood.