On the eve of Lent (sigh… yes, it is my favorite church season…), some penitence is in order. My last two posts are really revolving around the same issue. The first asked the question of why it is so hard for us to really get to know those who are poor and marginalized. I did not offer any answers (maybe in a future post?), and I am still curious to hear from others on this issue. The second asserted that caring is not enough, we need to be strategic and intentional in our aid efforts. The common thread (at least in my head) is the difficulty in tackling hunger and poverty. Too often I am content to toss money at a project without getting to know the people I hope it will benefit or if the project is even worth doing. Too often I keep the problem at arm’s length.
But this is not how I normally approach things that matter to me. When my wife and I were about to buy a car, we researched makes and models, read consumer reports, checked blue book values, and explored financing options. When we were looking to move we thought about the type of place we wanted to live, checked out the schools, imagined the play areas, calculated the monthly costs, and so on. In both of these decisions, we read and talked and thought continually about them. I even lost sleep (I think my wife did too).
I rarely lose sleep when I am contemplating hunger and poverty. I don’t always do the research I need to do on an organization, I rarely know the people I am ostensibly walking alongside.
Now you may say, “David, you’re being too hard on yourself. Those choices are big life decisions. Where you give your time and money for aid will not impact your own life so deeply. ” And that to me is the rub: why don’t I care more? Why am I not more moved by the (avoidable) tragedy of hunger? Why is it that I can spend hours and days thinking about my life decisions (and even those not so big decisions like what cell phone carrier to contract with) but not be fully engaged in the truly life and death situations that hundreds of millions face every day?
I don’t have the answers, but I have been thinking about the questions a lot lately. Maybe this is my own angst, maybe you share the same struggle. Whatever the case, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
– David Creech