Okay, so I actually started this earlier, but for some reason, it didn’t save… Weird. Thanks technology. Whatever. Anyways. Here was what I was going to say yesterday:
So I’m reading this book for my Middle East/N. Africa class called “From Beirut to Jerusalem” by Thomas Friedman, it’s super good. If you’ve ever wanted to read something about Lebanon in the 90s, pick this book up. I know, you’re all just dying (that’s funny if you know about Lebanon in the 90s) to read about it, but it really is good. The author is a journalist so it’s very easy to read and has personal stories. Either way, in order to get my point across, I have to tell you about it So, *spoiler alert*
Through the book, Mr. Friedman talks about his experience living in Beirut in the midst of constant war. 14 years the city was under a state of total war. One of the things he spends a good amount of time talking about is how the Lebanese start to view their surroundings, which is selectively. He compares it to Hobbes’ work “Leviathan”, which to me is comical but probably incredibly true. When government breaks down, the “rules of the jungle” take over. He talks about how people start to block out everything going on around them, not to the point that they put themselves in harms way, but enough to be able to cope with their surroundings. Now granted, I’ve never lived in a war zone (although my room looks like it more often than not) so I have absolutely no idea what it’s like to leave in the morning to go to school, and come back to a blown up apartment with no family. I know in a situation like that, you do what you need to in order to survive, but is turning off your emotion to the people and the city the way to do it? I mean, to lose your heart to the suffering masses around you. I know that to care and love like that takes such an emotional toll on a person, that I can’t even imagine it, and would probably drive you to the brink of insanity.
I guess my point of this is, I don’t want to become like the Lebanese in the 90s. This is not to say that were all emotionally checked out to their surroundings, but in general they were. I don’t want to check out of my emotions – no matter how much I don’t like them. You can’t check out of people, life, your surroundings, the world. I mean, as a community (speaking of Americans) I, sadly, feel like we’ve done this. How many men and women have died over seas? How many children are abused, in any manner, or have died at an innocent age? I heard a story, last night, of a middle school student who was killed by a car getting on to the school bus. I couldn’t even muster up 1 tear. Nothing. Is it sad? Absolutely. Does it really effect me? Eh… I wish it did, but it doesn’t.
What does this say about our society? Have we lost our compassion for humanity? How can we change the world if we don’t really, truly care about it? I’m not saying (I don’t think) we should just become so invested that we drive ourselves into a wall of depression, because that’s not helpful or healthy. I think there is a balance we have to find, as a society (and as an individual) I don’t think that balance has been found. But it’s one I want.
I want to be a compassionate person, and care about those that I’ve never met. I want to meet those people I’ve never met, and show them that I love them – but more than I love them, that Jesus Christ loves them. I want them to see the one who created them, molded them and made them, in me. I want to show them that regardless of their current situation God can use them in such a powerful way, and that He loves them unconditionally and for eternity, and that absolutely nothing they have done, are doing, or will do can ever change that.
Just some thoughts. There’s about to be a second post because this one was supposed to go up yesterday – don’t judge me.