I’m finding mornings to be beautiful. I never used to be a big morning person and truthfully, if the morning starts before 7:30, I’m still not. But there is something hopeful about the promise found in the damp coolness of a new day. This morning, like most other mornings, I awoke with a list of carefully planned to-dos. I find it strange that no matter how many items I cross off, the list never seems to get much shorter. Thankfully today, a quiet, cool, hopeful morning is at the top of the list.
Last night I watched “Darfur Now” and I wondered why I had never seen it before. Obviously I’d heard about the happenings in Darfur but I guess I had never really thought to investigate them further. Someone else could figure it out. I fear this is a pattern that is too easy to fall into. Don’t want to hear about suffering or injustice? Turn off the news. Inequalities sounds like a downer? Don’t buy the newspaper. Poverty not really your thing? Good, because you’re not in poverty. It’s amazing how whole a broken world can appear if you know where to avoid looking.
I suppose it’s not that we don’t want to help- maybe we just don’t know how. If we start talking about poverty we realize how much inequality still exists. And where there is inequality there is injustice and where there is injustice there is suffering and the solution just gets bigger and harder to imagine. The wounds of the world are rarely surface scratches that can be healed with some topical treatment and a bandaid. No, these wounds run deep and while we are all called to bring about healing, there is risk of personal injury involved. In my experience, calling rarely exists without risk.
When I was in Russia there were many days when I longed to be sitting back in a coffee shop in the states. When I returned home, I realized why. For me, coffee shops are a sign of familiarity, security, safety and comfort. I remember many coffee dates, sitting in Starbucks talking to my friends about what I thought Russia would be like and how I hoped to get to know the culture and love and serve people every opportunity I got. My conversations were hopeful and passionate and naive. Loving and serving people are easy to talk about when you’re warm and comfortable. They're easy to talk about when you’re healthy or safe. They're easy to talk to about when you’re in good company and have a four dollar drink in your hand. It’s another story when your caffeine buzz wore off months ago and you’re cold and lonely- frustrated and unsure. There is nothing wrong with coffee shop chats, but the dreams and plans we make are only words until we live them out.
“Darfur Now” reminded me that even though I’m tired and maybe a little confused about what it is I’m supposed to do with this life, the world continues to hurt. The pain doesn’t lessen because I think I deserve a break. Selfishly, I’m finding that to be a disappointing truth. But it’s time to turn on the news, pick up the newspapers, and open my eyes. Brokenness is not their problem-it’s our problem. It’s time to allow the sickness of the world to sink into my being so I feel urgency to think and feel and ultimately to act. God, forgive me for my apathy. Help me to know when the coffee cup is empty and I’ve rested long enough in my overstuffed chair. Give me the courage to walk through that door. Give me the wisdom to know where to go.