Saturday, September 20, 2008

Can we change anything?

Mother Theresa once said, "We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop." I feel about this quote is how I feel sometimes about the major, overwhelming problems of the world. Doing something is important, but does it really make any difference? Maybe if I didn't do something, the ocean wouldn't be that much smaller. But if all of us doing something can be compared to drops in the ocean, well, then, without any of our efforts we would barely have enough water for a pond, right?

After reading an article this morning on the problem of human hunger, I was alarmed at how much God was moving in my heart for groups of people in the world that I’ve never really felt connected to. I’ve always felt something for people who are poor, hungry, homeless, etc. but I feel I’ve been used to reacting to this disparity in a few different ways: not knowing how anything I do can help such global and overwhelming problems, thinking that because the world is so broken there’s always going to be these problems, thinking that it’s just because of their circumstances or things they have done which has brought them to the point where they are. I’ve also thought, it’s enough to take on my own problems let alone the burdens of the world. Some of these reactions are cruel-sounding, I know, but nothing about anyone’s perspective will ever change unless they’re honest. So I’m laying it all out...
Then I had two thoughts. One, what would I desire most for these people, in my thinking that wide-spread social change would be great but isn’t really realistic? And two, where has my heart gravitated toward in the past, as I know I’m much more soft-hearted than it sounds from my above comments?

The answer to number one is that I desire for them to really know Christ. As I’ve begun learning and growing more in what that means for my life, I want others who are in pain, hurting, feeling lost to experience that, too. Maybe then, they will be able to turn their lives around, I think, or latch on to the resources for them to do so, or at least stop being caught up in the whirlwind cycle of rottenness that plagues a lot of their day-to-day lives because of the situations they find themselves in.
But, along these lines, I was moved today as I read about chronically hungry people, and Christians who were seeking to “bring the good news” to them in other places of the world. Well, as a side-note, I know there are lots of hungry people right here around us, too, who don’t know the good news either. But the article said that before any of these people can understand or even “hear” the good news, they have to stop starving. For them, at the beginning, food is their source of “good news.” They can’t operate any other way unless their basic needs are met. This is scary and also liberating, because I think it can relate to people who are hungry for a lot of things, not just food. But it definitely speaks to me when I think about how much I take for granted and people who live off of practically nothing and are always starving.
Sure, it’s not to say we shouldn’t enjoy and experience the life we’ve been given, with the blessings and luxuries we have, but I realize there is a danger in never leaving that zone and experiencing what others feel on a day-to-day basis. This led me to the second question.
I do feel I have a desire to help hungry people, but we all have to work our way up slowly. I’m not yet fully equipped to help people more than I know how (besides just donating canned items and filling up backpacks to send overseas or something small like that, still not really connecting me to people or allowing me to use my skills to help them), even though I feel I want to really help in the “hunger” domain someday.
So then, not speaking of food, where am I tangibly helping people who are hungry right now? I guess it’s good that for this moment in time, even if I sometimes grumble, I can see my job in a new light, that children who are hungry for love are being served by engaging in positive interactions with adults in the community who have a drive to care, to mentor, to be a helping hand in pulling at-risk children out of their potential to continue down a vicious cycle of trouble and heartache. I think it’s very meaningful to do something to stop the cycle while people are young, by letting them know that someone cares about and is invested in them and whether they sink or swim.
We go through life knowing what we’ve been exposed to. I’ve seen that our world is troubled and broken, and I’ve not been removed from experiencing pain in different forms, however, I’ve never had to go through life wondering if I was going to go on “hungry” like so many people do, in so many different ways.
I wonder how we all can find out what it is we are equipped to do at this moment, and go for it, and not even stop there. I’m not content to stop in just the job I have now. I want to pull myself further- and I’m not sure what that means, but I think if you follow your passions, the work will seem easy. Maybe not always easy, but at least natural. If we all did this, perhaps we would have the kind of movement we and God have probably been dreaming of.

P.S. My friends who always seem to be in tune to how they can "be the change they wish to see in the world" inspire me to not loose sight of that desire being in me, too. Thanks for that. :)

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