I was chatting with a friend today, and we got to talking about recent challenges. He and his wife just went on their honeymoon in the Caribbean! However, my friend said to me that his social justice side wrestled his conscious. He continually became aware of the poor, as he was experiencing this once in a lifetime trip.
I had a similar struggle, although not in person, the other day. I was struggling in watching Slumdog Millionaire. I saw great poverty on my flat screen TV, seeing hungry children as I just came in from a dinner out with my cousin. This is my…entertainment? Where is the justice in these scenarios?
Nate said, “I just get so upset when I hear these stories, or see these scenes”. I didn’t even think as I fired off my response to him, “yes, but we can’t get so saddened we move to ignorance or silence. This stirring in us has got to move our hands, our feet, our heart and our soul to action”. Furthering confirming this sentiment was Nate’s response, a lovely, “Amen, Sister!”
I fear is not caring. Every day, be it through work, or email chains, or just personal stories, I hear how hard and cruel this world can be. Sometimes, it’s just plain overwhelming. I read yesterday this great quote that speaks to this sentiment.”There is a Silent Killer in America – “Rustout”. Burnout can wear down your body, but rustout can wipe out your soul & spirit. Rustout is the slow death that follows when we stop making the choices that keep life alive. Rustout means we are no longer growing, but at best, simply maintaining. Rustout is the opposite of burnout. Burnout is overdoing. Rustout is underbeing”.
I don’t want to rustout. I want these stories, stories of poverty next to resorts, stories of slums in India to move me to care. I need to care for those that I don’t know, because that is when my faith is most alive. If I say yes to hearing these stories, I say yes to believing in a power that is larger than me, and I say yes, you are human too, and deserve to be loved. For me, caring for others is me at my very best.
Nate’s right. We can easily be so burdened by the stark differences in our realities from someone else’s. But if this leads us to disengage, not act, then this will ultimately lead to rustout. Instead, we need to pray, be of service, be generous, seek peace and justice, in small ways and in large ones. I know that I can’t make this world perfect, but I can make it better by actively taking part in it.
Rustout, see ya later; caring and acting, welcome home.