Sunday, December 16, 2012

Next to Us

I wanted to keep going on yesterday’s post, but I thought it was probably long enough.  This post isn’t exactly a “Part II.”  This is more about something I have had on my mind for a while.

In times of tragedy, we often look at some faraway place and think how horrible those people have it.  As an undergraduate, I remember watching the news live when the Columbine tragedy unfolded.  Scenes from that day are embedded in my memory, but I was a very distant bystander, watching safely from my couch a few states away. 

But tragedy isn’t something that is distant.

It is right here next to us.

We get outraged that kids can’t feel safe in their neighborhoods, at school or in a movie theatre...but many kids don’t feel safe in their own homes.

I have been thinking about that a lot in these past few weeks.  About the suffering that takes place right next to us as we complete the to-dos of our lives.

The loneliness and pain that others experience every day.  And how those feelings only intensify during the time between Thanksgiving and the new year.

We can look at some event that is geographically distant, but the reality is that we can’t distance ourselves from the pain of others (or the pain we are experiencing ourselves).

People closer than we think are in pain.  They are broken.

And this completely overwhelms me.

I have to remind myself that this is not my problem to solve.  I don't mean to say that in a selfish way.  It is simply not possible for me, one person, to carry the suffering of this world.

But that is not an excuse to ignore it.

Yesterday, I shared some simple life lessons.  We all know how much I enjoy (and need) repetition.  I thought it was important to share those again.

Be a helper.

Seek out gratitude.

Pray (or send good thoughts or whatever it is that you do).

All of us have the ability to make a difference.  There is no small way of helping. 

And all of us are called to help others.  It is part of our humanity.

So if your mind ventures off to a place several states away, wondering how to help, don’t also forget about those nearest to you.  Their pain may be hidden, but it is still there.

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