The burden of caring…and the blessing

In recent times I’ve been struggling with many things. Some days are better than others. I struggle with some things that make the news that make so little sense to me. I struggle with what flies for acceptable political statements and activities.

I struggle with the resistance to accepting the reality that everything has changed. It really doesn’t matter if we like that or not – it’s more just accepting the reality of it and making appropriate changes and adaptations in order to survive and thrive. But there seems to be many who can’t accept that reality. That’s really sad. Resistance to this reality makes life more difficult.

I struggle with witnessing incongruence. Being congruent between belief and action is important to me and I struggle with seeing a lack of congruence. I don’t understand it.

I struggle with the desire to maintain abusive systems. I have heard far too many stories from a variety of people about the abuse they have suffered. I’ve struggled with hearing stories of abuse and trauma caused at the hand of the church and its representatives. Hearing these has worn me down – I can only imagine what it is like for someone to have lived through abuse directly and continue to live with the trauma that follows. These stories leave me stunned and often cause me to weep for the victims. I just can’t fathom causing such pain to others, especially from someone who goes on to proclaim the Good News of Jesus. I struggle with such wolves in sheep clothing.

I struggle with understanding the excuses for abuse and abusive behaviors, while seeking harsh punishment for “others” who commit far lesser sins. Is it all about power? Tribal mentalities? Do as I say, but not as I do? Isn’t this really just the ends justifying the means? I struggle with Christians who have adopted this way of being and believing that it is in alignment with Jesus. It isn’t.

I struggle with my own doubts and weaknesses. I struggle with my shortcomings. I struggle with how it seems that the world is oriented towards death, destruction, and evil, and that any good comes only through a huge amount of effort and struggle. Why? It makes no sense.

But I know I am not alone in these struggles. I know others who struggle with these things. They and I struggle with feeling like all our efforts amount to nothing. I struggle. Others do too. And that actually helps. I need that reminder because you and I are not alone in this struggle. In fact I think there are more that struggle with these things than we realize. And the beauty of that is that we get to encourage each other. We all need to hear that encouragement. We need it desperately because the world wears us down and makes it seem like the crap of the world is normal and expected. It’s not normal and we shouldn’t expect that what it does and how it operates to always be crappy.

If you struggle, like I do, I going to tell you something that my wife told me the other day when I was really struggling – You struggle because you care.

If you are someone who struggles with these things, then you are a beautiful person. You are a caring person. You care about what happens in the world. You care about people and about creation. You care about future generations. You care so very much that sometimes it hurts. You care so very much that your heart breaks more often than you wish it would. You care so very much that you throw yourself into doing whatever you can to improve the world in some way. You care so very much that it pains you to see people reject what would free them. You care so very much that it makes you sad when people refuse to see that things can be different.

That you care so very much is a burden.

…and a blessing.

It’s because you care so very much that you experience great joy when one life is changed and transformed. It’s because you care so very much that you have hope, even in the midst of great despair and especially when it doesn’t seem to make sense to anyone else. It’s because you care so very much that it drives you to not only so individual actions to help individuals, but you strive to change entire systems. It’s because you care so very much that you keep going – because if you don’t who will? It’s because you care so very much that you encourage others and proclaim good news to them because you need to hear it also.

Caring so very much drives you in many ways. Caring so very much allows you to see things that others can’t – it presents you with vision to see the world differently. It shows you possibilities that others can’t imagine.

That you care so very much is a blessing. It is certainly a blessing to others. And if we look deeply at ourselves we’ll see that it is a blessing to ourselves too. It’s what makes us who we are and drives us to keep going even, and maybe especially, when the odds are stacked against us. It’s because we care so very much that we keep going, that we’re all in, and we won’t quit.

The world needs people who care so very much – the world needs you. Our faith calls on us to care so very much. It is our cross to bear. It is our privilege to live into. It is our calling. And as much as it can be a burden that drains us, I would have it no other way. With great burden comes great blessing. The burden and the blessing give us a fuller range of life.

Keep caring so very much my friends. You aren’t alone in caring this much. You are a blessing to so many. You have great vision for how the world can be – and that vision is incredible, hopeful, encouraging, and healthy. And most importantly it’s achievable in spite of the obstacles, the resistance, and the naysayers. Your caring will last longer and drive you further than those who want to maintain abusive and unhealthy systems.

Keep caring so very much my friends – the world needs you. I need you. You need me. Let’s do this together. That’s what caring people do because it’s not about pumping ourselves up – it’s about making the world a better place, it’s about freeing people from the things that hold them in bondage, it’s about adding value, it’s about offering hope.

Keep caring so very much because you are making an impact – far more than you ever imagined. Real people’s lives are being transformed in incredible ways. Keep caring so very much. Carry the burden and let it be a blessing.

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