Its been awhile since I've sat down to write. Processing being back in the States has been harder than I ever imagined. I think there are some things that you can never un-see.
But I wouldn't want it any other way.
I want my heart to be broken over whats happening all over the world. I have lived my whole life in a bubble thinking that my way was best, and not really worrying about the fact that there is inhumane suffering, pain, poverty, persecution and injustice taking place over much of our world, right now, while we live in luxury.
I don't claim to totally understand or be above anything, because opening my eyes to these injustices has been a slow and continuing process.
Last year I met some sweet friends through World Relief. Actually they were refugees from Iraq- a husband, wife and their two little boys. They fled their country because of the danger after watching many of their family members horrifically die right before their eyes. They weren’t robotic people who could just take the pain of war simply because they are Muslim and from Iraq. They are people just like you and I who cried every day over their lost loved ones and the loneliness of being in a completely foreign country.
My friend Doris heaved and cried in disgust at her lifestyle as a prostitute the first time I met her. She hated this life her poverty pushed her into, but she needed to feed her child and jobs are nearly obsolete in her country.
I think of my friends, Lindy and Ashley who spent their summer working with women and girls who were sold by their families to be trafficked in Thailand.
I think back to my summer with 8 girls who live in a little orphanage in Honduras just trying to work past the pain of their horrific pasts.
The pain doesn’t just stop outside the borders of our safe little country.
I met a woman right here in Memphis who was forced into prostitution at 14 by her parents— they needed fast money and decided to use their two young daughters. Now nearly 40, this woman is recovering from a 20-year cycle of drug addiction and prostitution.
There is pain in our world; more than we could ever even imagine. But for some reason, we as a culture run from pain. If you don’t belive me, just go back and look at your Instagram feed or Facebook timeline. In all reality, we aren’t as happy, excited, and full of joy as our social media tends to say.
Is it possible that we portray our lives the way we wish they could be?
If so, then why do we wish for that? What is really wrong with mourning over the pain our brothers and sisters are facing all over the world? The Bible says, rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
Now, I’m not suggesting we all sulk ourselves into depression over things we can’t control. But maybe we could open up our hearts to the needs around us— realizing that our hearts could be stolen or broken, but deciding to take the chance.
I'm learning that mourning isn't something to run from or avoid. It leads us to empathy and a change that comes from looking outside of ourselves. So instead of forcing a placid smile on my face or trying to snap out of it, I'm going to let it all soak in trusting that the Lord is in control, but allowing my heart to break for the things that break his.
This life isn’t about happiness and its not about us, but the funny thing is that when we join with others and give up this transitory happiness, we usually find a preeminent comfort and joy.