No, it’s nothing to do with the recent solar eclipse (an epic fail in my part of the world, I have to say!)
It’s me, Abigail Johnson, doing the blacking out. Because these next two or so days will be the first time in as long as I can remember… Probably at least three years… that I won’t be checking the tennis scores.
Why is this? Because, as big a part of my life tennis most certainly is, there are real things going on in this world that we inhabit that are…
Let me explain why I’m ‘blacking out’.
What I call a Blackout is basically me going without my phone, internet, computer and television for 48 hours – at least. While I barely touched a computer several years back, I now log into mine almost daily. It’s become a necessity for my writing and involvement in the tennis world. My phone is one of the first things I turn to each morning, scrolling through my twitter feed to see if Serena and Roger made it through overnight. And when the tennis is broadcast on regular TV, you’ll know where to find me.
So why am I shutting all this down – at such an intense point of the tennis calendar? When tomorrow afternoon I’d have been hoping write about an awesome Federer victory at Indian Wells?
I’ll tell you what the media doesn’t fully cover.
You see, while we’re talking about who’s most likely to win Miami, and while Simona Halep and Jelena Jankovic are doing their utter best to torture themselves in the BNP Paribas Open title match… there are people, worldwide, who are suffering a very real, very physical, very mental and emotional torture.
Real, living, feeling people like you and me.
And for many, this torture will lead to death. As it has for those people who, I can guarantee, will have lost their lives in the short time I have been writing this.
This is serious.
I don’t know what your beliefs are. I myself am a born again Christian: Someone who has realised the desperation of my messed up life, discovered that Jesus died and rose again to save me (and everyone who accepts Him) from that mess, and thanked Him and asked Him for forgiveness.
Now, whether you agree with me on that or not is your decision. I pray that one day, whoever you are, you will.
But what we can all agree on, is that the sufferings of these Christians worldwide – over 100 million of them – is nothing short of abominable. Abysmal.
They’re abused. Attacked. Discriminated. Robbed. Beaten. Imprisoned. Tortured. Hurt. Terrified. Trampled underfoot. And ultimately – for many of them – killed.
Families are separated. Hearts are aching. People are dying.
This happens every second of every day, and there’s no escaping it.
And if I were there, guess what? That would be me.
They’re treated like dirt. And yet, despite all the atrocities, the lack of freedom, the life in a dirty, despised cage… These people are taking their stand.
Despite the danger to their life. Despite the cost they face as the result of a personal decision – a decision they have every right to make. They have found the true purpose in life, and it means that they aren’t backing down.
Even when it means – as it so often does – that these people are silenced. They have to keep quiet, simply because the majority of violent human beings around them don’t give them the right to believe what they want to.
And that’s why I’m going quiet online. Because my silence can make a big noise for these pressurised people. By doing this, I’m raising awareness for these people whose story needs to be told. Who wake up every day not knowing if it will be their last.
People who weigh deeply upon my heart.
And people whom YOU can help!!
The best part about this fast-from-technology is that I’m getting sponsored to do it – and every penny (in any currency!) donated goes straight to the aid of these Christians!! By doing this, I’m not just lifting their profile. Along with any of you who wish to take part, I’m also materially helping these needy people out – even from the other side of the world!
Click here to visit my Just Giving page! If you wish it, you are absolutely free to donate as much or as little money as you like to it, adding your support to these people who suffer so much. As I say, the money goes straight to help them. Both they and I would be sincerely grateful for your help and demonstration of your care. If you don’t want to donate then that’s absolutely fine, and thank you for taking the time to read this – but please click on the link anyway, and check out what’s been going on!
Just in closing: For the next few days I’ll be going without my mobile and internet, and will lose my connection with the world of tennis. But for how long will these people go without food? Security? Family?
From the bottom of my heart, I know that your support can help change their lives. And I sincerely pray that through reading this, a change might be happening in your life, too.
Thanks so much for reading! And if you want to ask me more about any part of this, email me at email@example.com – although I’m afraid can’t reply until after my Blackout’s over!
Look out for more tennis writing from me later on this week. There’s a lot to look at!