Tonight the husband and I watched a documentary called the Refugee All Stars. The refugees in the movie fled the civil war in Sierra Leone in the late 1990s/early 2000s. They formed a band in the refugee camp, and the movie looks at all their experiences. To be honest I didn’t love the movie, but it was a harsh reminder of the world we live in.
During that civil war, rebels roamed the land and tortured innocent civilians.
Cutting off limbs was common.
Innocent people watched their loved ones get killed before their eyes.
Hard working people had their earnings forcefully taken from them.
One man was forced to beat his own child with a mortar and pestle. Beat his own child until the child died.
The war in Sierra Leone is over, but these types of things are still happening today. How easy it is for us to forget that. How easy it is for us to complain about the weather, or our jobs, or our food, or any other trivial matter, and not remember that there are people dying of hunger. Dying from war. Dying by torture.
We look back at the Nazi rule many years ago and wonder how we could have let that happen for so long, but the same types of things are happening right now. How can we let it go on?
One of my favorite quotes ever: “We can be the generation that no longer accepts that an accident of latitude determines whether a child lives or dies- but will we be that generation? Will we in the West realize our potential or will we sleep in the comfort of our affluence with apathy and indifference murmuring softly in our ears? Thousands of people dying needlessly everyday from AIDS, TB, and malaria. Mothers, fathers, teachers, farmers, nurses, mechanics, children. This is Africa’s crisis. That it is not on the nightly news, that we do not treat this as an emergency- that’s our crisis. History will be our judge, but what is written is up to us. We can’t say our generation didn’t know how to do it. We can’t say our generation couldn’t afford it. And we can’t say our generation didn’t have reason to do it. It’s up to us.” – Bono
The problems of this fallen world are so overwhelming that the little things an individual is capable of seem like they won’t make a difference. Like they’re offering a band aid to a gunshot victim bleeding his last breaths away. It’s easy to think that because we can do so little, it’s not worth doing anything at all. Sometimes I start to think that. Sometimes I think that adopting one or two orphans from the millions and millions isn’t even a drop in the bucket. Sometimes I think that the few dollars we send to World Vision every month don’t really matter. Sometimes I think that the necklace that’s $15 at Target is pretty much the same as the $20 necklace made by refugees or fair trade workers. Sometimes I think that nothing I could do could really matter. Sometimes I think that if only I had multiple lives, in my next life I’d like to really dedicate myself to full-time relief work. Then I could really make a difference.
And let’s be honest. One orphan or $30 or two necklaces aren’t really solving the problem. I could open an orphanage, give all my savings, and sell necklaces in my free time and that STILL wouldn’t solve the problem. I don’t know what the solution is. But I do know another of my favorite quotes: “None of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” Mother Teresa
When we start thinking that we don’t matter, that our small actions don’t make a difference, they’ve won. When we stop paying attention because it’s depressing and makes us feel bad, they’ve won. “They” might be the rebels or the corrupt government or the devil. They are powerful and influential. They are mean. They are bad. Don’t let them win. Don’t ignore what is going on in this world because it’s uncomfortable to think about. Ask yourself what are some small things you can do with great love?