Well readers, it took ten weeks, but on Monday of this week I had the overwhelming feeling that I’d reached the point of saturation – that state when no more can be absorbed, when one is full to the maximum possible extent and an increase will produce no further results.
A couple of images came to mind as I thought about how I was feeling: a sopping wet sponge sitting in a puddle of excess water, and a curious chemistry student standing over a glass of water, constantly stirring as she adds more sugar, only to watch it pile at the bottom of the glass because no more could be dissolved into the liquid.
I was full. Full of information, stories, statistics, thoughts, images, connections and questions. Ten and a half weeks ago I started interning at ELCA World Hunger and entered a time of intentionally and fervently raising my awareness of hunger and poverty by seeking out that information, those stories, statistics, thoughts, images, connections and questions. Then, on Monday afternoon as I sat looking at headlines and browsing blog posts, that feeling of saturation took over.
Nothing affected me. I could not process any new information. I longed to be in a large, empty white room or an open field, to listen to loud, numbing music, to run, or to dance. I needed a good wringing out.
I thought about my blog post for this week and my role in of adding to the noise, the chatter, and the endless sources of information. (I played with the idea of making this a very concise and simple post, but I will leave that for another time. Somehow I am loving the irony of working out my over-saturation through more and more words. Stick with me.)
Ultimately my saturation-induced paralysis and impassivity passed. A different image that came to my mind: the simple figure 1.02 billion. I focused on the single fact that 1.02 billion people are undernourished, and again felt like doing everything possible to learn more and to act against the overwhelming problem of hunger and poverty.
Again with the irony, somehow reading more also helped me wring myself out. I love what Allie said about hope in her blog yesterday. She writes, “I have gained knowledge of the realities of our world. Most importantly, as cheesy as it may sound, I have gained hope. I look back to the first week of the summer when I felt overwhelmed by the reality of hunger in the world and by the work done at ELCA World Hunger. Eleven weeks later, I am still amazed by the work that is being done and by the positive impact it is having, but I also have hope.”
So that’s what I leave you with today. In our often over-saturated lives, remember that 1.02 billion people are hungry, and that we have hope.