Last week I mentioned that I’m writing a book. Today I share with you just a small snippet from the beginning of chapter 1. The working title of chapter 1 is “Facing Reality.” There’s plenty more, but I wanted to give you the first several paragraphs to get a sense of the chapter and where it is going. I welcome your thoughts and comments. Enjoy!
Reality is full of brokenness. There is hunger, poverty, homelessness, environmental destruction, nationalism, anti-immigrant attitudes, greed, racism, sexism, and more. The list goes on and on. It can become an unbearable burden that weighs us down when we think about these issues. It can feel like you are standing at the base of a dam as it’s ready to explode. What in the world is one person supposed to do about this?
Not fix it all – that’s what. You aren’t called to fix all of these things. You aren’t the savior. That job has already been taken by the one you claim to follow – Jesus. So take a deep breath.
That doesn’t mean we do nothing. It just means to put things into perspective. You and I are limited in what we can do individually. And if we try to face these issues individually, we’ll never get anywhere because they are too big for any one person to face.
The reality is that our world is broken, and so are we. The Rev. William Barber, III once said that “we are wounded people and we’ve been given a band-aid.” A band-aid doesn’t do much for people who are deeply wounded. It just covers up small wounds, but it doesn’t heal anything. Band-aids aren’t meant to.
We are broken – broken in many ways. But that doesn’t leave us hopeless. It makes us open to something great. To a different way of being and doing things.
Henri Nouwen once wrote the following – “Issues easily imprison; a person can set free. Issues easily divide us; a person can unite. Issues easily exhaust; a person can give rest. Issues easily destroy; a person can offer new life. Despair is caused by orientation toward issues, but hope emerges when we direct ourselves with heart and mind to the person of a saving God. That is prayer.” (pg. 210, The Road to Peace)
Nouwen understood something important – we don’t solve issues. We are called to see people.