Aftermath of the storm. When I went to bed last night, I had a good (ominous, really) inkling I was in for a long night. After a day navigating the colliding winds of both the merriment of Halloween in the office and a looming sense of somberness, what more could I expect? Sandy had ceased her torment of the Mid-Atlantic several hours ago, but the pangs I felt of sympathy throbbed dull in my chest all day. The realization that while my personal bubble had not come close to popping, there were millions who couldn’t be any further from that reality. And then another realization set in.
How little do I care. My entire concern throughout the storm was on my own comfort and enjoyment. Forget safety or well-being, I was trapped on the surface of my own ego. Yet, you have people fighting for their lives as well as the lives of everyone they loved. I know I cannot begin to understand, but I never even tried. Yet, this hurricane is no greater than what happens throughout the world every day. Hundreds of people die of starvation, thirst, fever, unending civil wars, terrorism. What percentage of the world lives below the poverty line? Somewhere along the line, I decided I could no longer be bothered to leave my bubble. Long ago, I willed my heart to become stone to those that needed a tender heart most.
The least of these. This phrase has been abused so badly over the years that I don’t pretend any longer to know what it was meant to portray. Oddly, the happiest people I’ve met are the poorest financially, the least burdened with consumerist garbage. How can I call these happy souls least of anything? I know there are the destitute homeless, I’ve met a few. They’re homeless because they lost faith in the pillars of society (many of them vets of forgotten or hated wars) and society simply turned it’s back. Perhaps these are the least? What about me? What about the comfortable and miserable? What about those who have and continue to accrue, selling bits of their soul for each new lie? What about those who wake up at the end of their lives and lament the day they were born because they realize they’ve thrown away an entire life? Surely, these are the least.
Drawing blood from a stone. This is the task I begin to endeavor, starting with this post. I’m tired of turning a blind eye to whole people groups in need of love and justice. I’m tired of considering those under the crushing burden of national debts “incurred” decades ago as nothing more than trivialities splashed across the front page of my newspaper. I’m tired of searching for a pulse and finding none. I’m tired of a heart that feels nothing anymore. I want to hurt for these people. I want to bleed. I want the pain that reminds me from time to time that I’m alive. One day, I hope to be as alive as those with smiles on their faces as they live on a landfill. Won’t you join me?