There’s pain and suffering around the world. We live in a world where parts of it are being mutiliated by war, starvation, poor sanitation, terror, and disease. Despite all of that a body like mine can enjoy the warmth of the sun’s rays through tinted windows on an airconditioned bus, the whiff of freshly brewed coffee escaping from the steaming machine, the wonderous smile of a child discovering the world’s many miniature fancies.
Most of us living in the developed world are used to being assaulted by images of malnutritioned, fly stuck african babies while enjoying our lavish tv dinners. There are children in my home continent who don’t enjoy the privilege of cleanliness and nutrition. Relief efforts such as World Vision don’t even operate in Nigeria.
Living this far away from the paralysing grip of poverty, I’ve become fat in the security of my world where diseased children are a nuisance to watch during commercials and the very real and human consequences of war are political complications my fragile coffee induced mind can’t take. Its not apathy that makes me filter this information out, its disconnect.
I can’t relate to a child whose deprived of the basic necessities we take for granted. I can’t imagine what growing up in a war zone is like. I don’t understand the effect this has on the human condition but I know for sure that I’m blessed, privileged and therefore highly accountable for my life and my youth. How I choose to spend it is going to be what I’m most heavily tested on come Day of Judgement.
I don’t carry feelings of guilt and shame and heart break with me after hearing stories of suffering. Hunger, poverty and the diseased play on repeat in my subconscious. Though I don’t ache for every child depicted in the World Vision ads, witnessing a group of school boys smashing their apples on the ground invokes feelings of strong discipline. I want to smack them.
Recognising the pain that exists in the world today, its hard for me to reconcile with the knowledge that not a lot of people are interested in making it right. Or even trying. Yes, we have busy schedules. Not because we need to and isn’t it funny the the term is defined according to your geographic location. My need is freshly brewed coffee every morning. Someone else’s might be oxygen. Its relative.
Going through the experience of setting up a volunteer organisation it amazes me how little thought people actually give to the needs that aren’t being met globally or their ability to bridge that gap. The problem with saints is they’re few and far between. We can’t pray for more Mother Teresas but we can invoke the Mother in us.