“Eat your peas! Don’t you know there are starving children in Africa?” Familiar. Mom and dad drama dealt to the picky child in hopes to coax another mouthful or two off their dinner plate.
And then we grow up. And OH MY we realize…there ARE starving children in Africa. Darfur and girls missing in Nigeria. Ebola and all of these INSANE sicknesses and diseases. There is so much pain and injustice in this world, it can become all consuming.
Having lived in Africa for over a year I went through many stages of grief and waves of emotion concerning this subject. At points I lived overwhelmed by the pain and suffering. There are many many active steps that we can take to encourage change on grand scales. These are noble and worthy causes.
I am also realizing we are pulled to far smaller scales and less complex answers in our efforts to “save the world.”
The more I live life in this place the more I realize that super small things make a big difference. I am realizing that living and loving others where you are in your sphere of influence is significant. Simple hugs are healing. Words laced with grace are enough. Laughter…sincere laughter…IS medicine for the soul. Small intentional acts of service to our friends, family, and neighbors matter. Sitting in the presence with another speaks volumes to their brokenness. People are starving for connection…for heart to heart real life connection.
No matter where you are on the compassion scale, my challenge today would be to make an intentional effort to seek out someone in your direct sphere of influence. Give a hug. Send an email or text. Make extra for dinner tonight and invite the neighbors over. Walk across the hall at work and speak to someone that is difficult to love…you know they have a tough story…or they wouldn’t act that way.
As silly as it sounds to ask a child to eat all of their food on their plate (as if this action MIGHT help the starving children of Africa)–so is my request!
Except both give perspective. We don’t have to cross several oceans to meet the needs of others. There are folks starving all around us…who are longing for deep relational connection and care.
But…we have to slow down. Stop letting busyness rule our lives. Stop being overwhelmed by suffering or big picture pain. Instead we need to open our eyes to the deep chasm of hurt, pain, and hunger in our own homes, neighborhoods, and work places. It is as real as the starving children in Africa.
Today…don’t save the world. Do one simple thing.
“Sometimes the most spiritual things we do are the ones most physical, the most tactile.” Shauna Niequest
May You Be a Blessing and May You Be Blessed,