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Hole in the Heart

If you were to paint a picture of a sex trafficker, it probably wouldn’t look like Allison Mack. The perky blonde co-star of Smallville, the popular TV series that chronicled the teenage years of Superman, Mack was recently charged in a New York federal court in connection with a secret society called Nxivm. Mack allegedly recruited women for the organization, who were branded and forced into sexual relationships with the founder, Kevin Raniere.

Barbara Bouchey, an ex-girlfriend of Raniere’s, told Fox News that Mack joined the group because “she had a void in her life and because she felt vulnerable.”  Mack herself admitted in a 2017 magazine interview that after Smallville, she wasn’t sure where she was going or who she was. In her words, it was “a most bumpy transition.”

It would be too easy to dismiss this as a tragic story of a misguided woman — but the fact is, we all carry this void. It comes with the human condition. Blaise Pascal, the brilliant French philosopher and scientist, wrote that all human beings seek to fill this hole by pursuing happiness — yet our long and sad history proves we haven’t been successful. Pascal notes that this yearning means that humanity once possessed a true happiness, “of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace.” This “happiness hole” is infinite, but we try to fill it with temporal things such as pleasure, food, worldly knowledge and a score of other pursuits. Only an “infinite and immutable object,” in the words of Pascal, will suffice. The only One who can fill this void is God, the “true good” of all people.

I don’t know if Allison Mack is innocent or guilty. That is for a jury to decide. But I know she has a God-shaped hole in her heart. I once had it, too. What we choose to fill it with makes all the difference in the world.

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