~She sells her body to make money to feed her child.
~4 people in the church of 100 own a Bible.
~She's sick and dying of AIDS. She has been sexually abused more times than she can count. She is 7. And cares for 4 younger siblings.
~He sleeps in the train station. Starving. While there are hundreds of very edible cows wandering on the streets. But he won't dare touch one... because he believes that cow might just be his uncle, father, or friend.
~Her husband was martyred last year, leaving 40 orphans in her care. Somehow, all 41 of them survive on $10 a day.
I've seen their faces.
I've looked into their eyes.
I heard the unique tones of each voice.
I've smelled their homes.
I've slept in their rat infested rooms.
I've held them as they've wept.
I've tasted the sourness of their food.
I've laid on the dirt under the stars, holding sick, dying orphans who don't speak a word of English, falling in love with them as their bright eyes smile up at me through dark skin.
So its real to me.
And over and over again, I try to innovate new ways to help them. Because over and over again, it reverberates in me: "This is not just THEIR problem."
When a part of my body isn't functioning right, it manifests itself, sometimes through a cough, a sneeze, or weakness. When something isn't in sync with the rest of my parts, we'd say that I'm sick, and begin to do what needs to be done to get me healthy. If my lungs, stomach, or head suffer, the rest of me suffers, too....
When a part of the Body of Christ isn't functioning right, the rest of the Body suffers. When we who CAN do something do nothing, it affects everyone, even though you might not see it externally... eventually, what's going on internally will manifest on the surface.
Their conditions are not just their problem. And I'm not just talking about physical conditions. I'm talking about emotional and spiritual as well. Far too often we all walk around in a cloud of self-consumption, saturated in our present level of depression or happiness, the price of gas and the economy, our relationship issues, or any other situation we can keep our minds busy with.
And we miss the big picture. Starving children in Mozambique aren't actors in a Compassion International infomercial. They really do exist. I've held their boney frames. Women enslaved by the sex trade aren't statics. I've seen the emptiness in their eyes, and heard their unspoken cries for a Friend.
You know you're awake because you want to wake everyone else up, too.
If you don't want to, then maybe you're still sleeping.
Maybe you need to walk straight into something uncomfortable. Something you don't understand. Something that even frightens you a bit.
Until you do, the real world keeps passing you by, while you live in the Matrix.
True, waking up requires much more effort. But I promise you, its worth every tear, drop of sweat, and question that keeps you up at night.
Feeding starving orphans is not just the orphan's problem. Loving the love-starved is not just the love-starved's problem.
And waking sleeping people up is not just the sleeping people's problem.
I've decided its mine, too.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
It's Not Theirs
Excerpted from this post by Kim Daniels, a World Racer currently on the field in Thailand: