As we land into Nepal today, with the plane food swirling in my stomach, I am overwhelmed with the pure thrill of the unknown. Stepping out of the ground hog day of novice Motherhood, fresh from the smog and chaos of Bangkok, disquieted by the old men leading young women into hotel rooms and inspired by everyday people immersing themselves for the sake of another.
Every single time I step from a plane onto a distant land, my heart aches, grows and stretches.
Every time I stand in a customs queue, behind a screaming toddler, watching throngs of humanity writhing I shrink in the vast magnitude of our difference.
Every time I walk in corridors of decay, rubbish and unclean unknown of developing nations I breathe perspective deep into my veins, my bones creak with the awakening of injustice.
Every time we step from our comfortable perched places, we eyeball the apathy in our lives and cant help but be deeply convicted.
As we have been sitting on this flight together, I asked one of my companions what her greatest concern is for the church in the next few years and her answer was apathy.
Compassion fatigue, luke warmness and attitudes that place us in comfortable resting positions. Then I grabbed my copy of 40 days of decrease by Alicia Britt Chloe, which I am reading and reflecting on here on my blog and her fast today is apathy. No co-incidence indeed.
apathy , n. /?æp???/ Freedom from, or insensibility to, suffering; hence, freedom from, or insensibility to, passion or feeling; passionless existence.
I think we become apathetic, because we become a people who are seeking comfort and satisfaction over purpose and clarity.
When was the last time you felt an emotion so deeply that you shocked yourself?
When was the last time you did something so out of your comfort zone that your legs quaked?
When was the last time shivers overwhelmed you?
Apathy describes an emotional disconnect from life in general and suffering in particular. In a society drowning in bad “news,” apathy can seem an attractive alternative to absorbing the insane amount of planetary pain that the Internet brings to our attention every waking moment. Alicia Britt Chloe
We live lives of over saturation of information, we live voyeuristic days watching, judging and stalking, rather than watching what if we stepped in the arena and awakening the sleeping giants like sympathy, sensitivity and concern?
What if we asked questions and listened to another’s story finding compassion and mercy waiting on the bridge of connected hope?
I think we become afraid of engaging because we have seen it all before, we’ve been to the conference, bought the t-shirt and came away the same person. I think we are so disillusioned by the magnitude of the worlds problems that even the thought of doing something small, our little offering, that it won’t make a difference. I think we are so afraid of stuffing it up, that we pull back before we even have the possibility of failing.
“Joy and sadness are born at the same time, both arising from such deep places in your heart that you can’t find words to capture your complex emotions. But this intimate experience in which every bit of life is touched by a bit of death can point us beyond the limits of our existence.” HENRI NOUWEN
The truth is however that when we enter the arena, when we have a go and fail, when we contribute even something small, we have won the apathy war.
It is a plague taking over our world in epic proportion. It is a disease that can only be healed by action. Apathy has the capacity to ruin more lives than any potential loss we face by engaging in another’s story.
As I prepare right now to land into a country I have never visited before, to spend time with hill tribes of people who are still shaking in the wake of a recent earthquake, I am asking God just one thing.
Give me eyes to see.
Awaken in me.
Let apathetic places be ripped open.
Give me eyes to see.
Day 23: I want to fast apathy and awaken those bitter and broken places to believe again.