I have only paid cursory attention to the hundreds of girls kidnapped recently by a militant group in Nigeria. And even when I have stopped to listen to an NPR update on the situation, I haven’t registered any emotional response. I could have tried to get my heart to go there—I knew in my head the horror of their situation, and I knew that thousands if not millions of people around the world were advocating with great emotion on their behalf. But I didn’t take the time, I didn’t summon up the emotional energy, to go there.
Same thing for the Malaysian airplane that went down a few months ago.
And for the landslide in Afghanistan and the tornadoes in the Southeast and the recent avalanche on Mt. Everest.
All these stories caught my attention for a few seconds and then floated away, seeming almost as incidental as the weather report and book recommendation that bracketed them.
It may be that I am callous and cold-hearted and indifferent to the suffering of others. It may be that I allow myself to feel pain and grief only when it is personal, only in a self-centered way. It may be that I am cynical about the use of social media to create causes like #bringbackourgirls.
Or it may be—and I hope this one is the truth—that I have been called to care faithfully for a limited number of people and leave many stories of heartbreak and horror for others. By care, I mean that I not only have an emotional response to need but an active response. That I’m willing to put my feelings, my time, and my energy toward a limited number of people and causes. In order to care faithfully, there are many people and causes I will never care about.
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SOURCE: Christianity Today
Amy Julia Becker