Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Two Irreconcilable Worlds

I have an embarrassing history of being totally ignorant about what is going on in the world.  Not being a TV person and spending very little time in the car, it has been very easy to be ignorant.  I never felt compelled to check the news, because I never understood how simply knowing about bad things, without the ability to impact the situation for good, was helpful to anyone. 

Well, time has passed, and I have slowly decided to stay more informed; probably a combination of the guilt of being a bad citizen, the inability to participate in conversation, and the embarrassment that comes with it.  I  downloaded an app for a local news station, and started checking it once a day.  However, I just found out about the recent Ebola outbreak from my niece (because I hadn't seen anything on the local news), so I downloaded the CNN app.

Today (and probably the whole of my life), people are fleeing everywhere. Staying in their homeland would involve conversion to Islam, extreme taxation, or death by the sword.  Children are dying from thirst in the mountains after fleeing religious persecution with their families.  People are dying by the hundreds from ebola virus.  And I'm sitting on my futon, thinking about part-time jobs and getting in one more beach trip before school starts.

I don't know how to reconcile my life with their lives.  I don't want to be un-impacted by such horrific suffering.  As a Christian, I know I can and should pray.  Is that it?  Pause for a moment, feel bad for a moment, intercede to the Father for them, and then business as usual?  It's a little gut-wrenching to think the answer is "Probably".  Other ways to help in a practical manner seem non-existent. 

It brings me back to the point where I seem to find myself more and more appreciate what I have, and to give where I can.  Just yesterday, I registered my boys for the upcoming school year.  In the health section, I checked the "No" box 54 times (18 for each boy) where it asks about specific problems or medications.  Nope.  Nothing.  Healthy as horses.  Do you mean that for every "No" I checked, some parent checked "Yes"?  Yes. 

Have we moved in the last three years to find work in farming or fishing?  Hell, no!  I can't even imagine that.  But, someone has.  Lots of people.  Every person who has a child in this school district has to answer this question, and it's not because it's irrelevant. 

I'm grateful when I check the box that I am, in fact, my child's parent and we reside in the same place.  Again, I could not imagine it any other way.  But, a lot of people can't imagine it my way, either. 

So, this morning, after taking a peek at the news and getting ready for the next thing in my day, it looks like the world is "going to hell in a hand basket" and my world is as rosy as ever.  What to do with that?  I will live more gratefully and intentionally this day.  I will not complain about anything that is short of the pain of death -at least for today.  I will try to encounter Christ, as I attend my women's group this morning.  I will donate to an old classmate's campaign for safe driving, call a friend who's having a hard time, and bring "Happy hour" to a friend recovering from surgery. 

This doesn't mean anything in the face of religious persecution or ebola virus, but it means everything in my world, and that is the best I can do.

Dear God of Worlds - Large and Small,

Thank you for my life and all of the healthy people in it.  Thank you for freedom of religion.  Thank you for the tremendous wealth, comfort, and safety we have in this country.  I pray we use it for good, and that it may not be an obstacle to anyone's salvation, as you have said.  Lord, please free, comfort, and protect those who need it.  You have said that we need not fear that which can kill the body, but only that which can kill the soul.  Please convict us of this, Lord.  Help us to live in such a way, that is small, but important.  You see and know all.  Jesus, we trust in You.  Amen.