Monday, January 18, 2010

life goes on...

i often think of the scene from hotel rwanda where don cheadle's character (hotel manager/rwandan savior), after viewing images of the rwandan genocide captured by joaquin phoenix (cameraman/journalist/hottie), says to him, "how can the world not intervene when they witness such atrocities?"

"if people see this footage, they'll say, 'that's horrible!' and then they'll go on eating their dinners."

and how true that is. whether its genocide (rwanda, darfur, etc...), earthquakes (haiti, china, etc...), tsunamis, wars, poverty... we see these images and our world is changed. for a moment. a few days. maybe a few weeks. but then, since its not on our soil, since it doesn't affect us directly, we go back to our own lives.

we give, we pray, we cry. but our life doesn't really change. we read an article that today, years after first hearing about darfur, people groups are still living on the slippery edge of being annihilated by corrupt, government assisted jangaweed. women are still raped, men are still killed, children are still beaten. not a whole lot has changed there. its just no longer in our headlines.

and 5 years after the tsunami, i'm certain there are still mothers who are haunted daily by the memory of a child they couldn't hang on to in the raging water. and in beslan, russia, children are still tormented by the terror they experienced when islamic extremists held them hostage for days at their school.

the list goes on. every day, ella prays for the people of haiti. "Lord, help them feel better." "help them fix their buildings." "help the children find their parents." "help everything to go back to the way its supposed to be."

but someday, she'll stop praying for them. not because she doesn't care. but because she'll forget. and i won't think to remind her. because our lives have gone onto something else.

like today, for instance. i'd much rather look at the best/worst dressed slide show of the golden globes than more pictures of the devastation of haiti. its not that i don't care. its just... well... depressing.

and i guess i don't like to be depressed.

you know, its kinda all about me. not that i want it to be. but isn't that how we live?

i mean, life just sorta goes on, doesn't it?

for me, anyway.

not that i'm supposed to force myself to be depressed over haiti. and not that i can't enjoy things in life while others are suffering. it's just perspective here. i desire to have the mindset that puts others first. that the injustice and suffering around the world doesn't leave my radar screen and orphans and hurting people are daily in my prayers.

i just want it to be less about me.

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?' "
-Martin Luther King, Jr.


Erin said...

Right there with you. Right there with you....

Heather said...

Um, what was that anonymous comment?


Great post. I'm the same way. I agree that it is human nature; we'd never get out of our beds if we despaired over every tragedy that happens every day.

But we do get out of bed. And we try to make a difference in our little corner of the world. And someday, when our kids are older and not so needy, maybe we'll have more of ourselves to give.

Mama Kat said...

First of all I got that exact same anonymous comment. I'm glad we could both help someone on their college assignment. You with your heartfelt post and me with my gluten post written three months ago. Awesome.

Second of all...this is all so true. I think about it all the time. You're right though, we can't stop our lives and mourn what's going on in Haiti everyday. The feelings of grief we have for what they are going through will always be there, but we still need to wake up in the morning and pay our bills. And so would they if roles were reversed.

We're praying too.