“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness…” Vierzig
I walk outside and I am quick to look the other way when a little barefoot talibé kid asks me for money, or for something to eat. I see it all the time. It seems like every time I’m sitting in a hot taxi, waiting for the line of traffic to move forward, I look out the window and see a mom and her twins sitting on the side of the road, hoping someone will come and help them out.
It’s easy for this to become commonplace. It’s life here. You can’t help everyone. I’m only one person. What difference can I make? It’s their own cultural system that puts them in that situation. These are some of the things that I try to tell myself, so that I can move on about my day, focusing on something other than the needs that are all around me. The pain that is so clear.
Granted, we can’t help everyone, and there are ways that we can reach out without giving hand-outs, but here’s what I don’t want to happen: I don’t want to become desensitized to pain. I don’t want to always look the other way, minimizing the sufferings that are so real, in the lives of people that God gave his life for.
Something that really stood out to me when I was visiting a tribe in the Amazon Jungle, in Bolivia, was how the people live. They are born in poverty, they die in poverty. But here’s what really stood out to me: they didn’t choose where they would be born! This makes me realize that it could just as easily be me
in their shoes living out under a tarp in the jungle, hoping that I will have some rice for dinner. It makes me realize that it’s by his grace alone, that I am where I am today. It makes me very grateful.
So my prayer for us all today, no matter where we’re living, is that we will take a moment to look people in the eye, and love them. It’s not easy! It may cause us to be very uncomfortable. We may see heartache and need. Just remember, you are where you are today, by the grace of God. Share that love and grace with those around you, and step outside of your own little world.