One of the lessons I learned in Zambia was that there is a fine line between ignorance and arrogance. I have long known that I do not want to live my life unaware of struggles and realities of this world. However, I need to make sure that I do not assume that if I’ve seen or heard of one hardship, I know them all. I began to make that mistake in Zambia, thinking that the hardships, poverty, beauty or joy would be the same as other countries I have visited. Of course it’s not!
A good friend of mine, someone who I admire and have wrestled with our faith with, is my friend Nate. We were both in FrancisCorps in Syracuse. After his honeymoon, and struggling with seeing poverty while he was on a very nice trip he frustratingly stated, “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”.
It would be easy to live in that world, where we try not to know about the world, or be silent. But it’s not real. Nor, do I think that allows us to the persons we are meant to be.
Ignorance and arrogance are denials of what are truly present in front of us. It may be hard to be aware of situations. But that awareness plants the seed inside us. It allows us to grow, to change, to love more deeply.
Even if our action is to sit more deeply with truths of the world that sadden us, its a positive step forward. It is allowing the stirring in us to shape us. Then, we begin to shape the world.