I have heard a lot about walls this past year.
This week in Honduras, my mom and cousin mentioned how strange it was that every building is completely covered by high walls with barbed wire or shards of glass and nails. You slide back the big metal doors to find beautiful courtyards, clean houses, and normal-looking people.
"Why all the walls," people always ask.
Safety? To keep out the bad?
But is there more to it? Is it also to not have to sip your piping coffee while staring at the lady begging for money or the barefoot children? Is it so that the houses sliding off the mountain aren't in the background of the kids playing in the back yard?
Because on either side of every wall here is a different world.
But I don't have a wall around my apartment. I have them in my heart-- built like little mazes separating the atrocities, the pain, and needs. Don't we all?
We see the homeless on East Parkway and think about them until we have driven far enough to forget.
Sometimes it's the wall of "that's just the way it is."
Sometimes the wall of "it's not my job."
Sometimes the wall of "I don't have time."
Or the wall of "I wasn't called to this."
Here's my problem. Sometimes I knock all the walls down after a trip abroad. I let everyone in without question. I want to fix everything and give to everyone and I run out of time and energy and am left exhausted. But some boundaries are good. They are needed.
Walls don't ask questions. They ignore. They take away humanity. They keep you from seeing. Boundaries still let you see.
I know I can't change the homelessness problem. I can't fix violence or low graduation rates. I can't find jobs for everyone or help every refugee. I can't solve racism or immigration.
But I want to see them. I want to see that not everyone lives like me. Not everyone is safe. Not everyone is accepted by culture.
I want to pray for more than just the people I know.
I want to go into my city with eyes open. I want to make my own tiny difference with everything I have, but I never want to forget how much bigger the hurt and need and pain are than me.
I never want to close my eyes. And I never want to forget that God is bigger, and that God sees. I want to see what he sees and be broken over what breaks him.
No more walls.