Fatally Comfortable

All around you, people will be tiptoeing through life, just to arrive at death safely. But dear children, do not tiptoe. Run, hop, skip, or dance, just don’t tiptoe.

-Irresistible Revolution

In my research to find statistics for what is really going on here in this bloody city, the most dangerous city in Mexico which seems to be fighting for the top spot in the world as well, I ran across a humorous, yet sad article about the lethargy, the pacifism of one of the safest cities in the US, just across the border from it’s fatal opposite. In short, it found in studies that there was a significant amount of lithium in the water supply which was apparently sedating the city. Who knows if this was true, but it made me think about how this same lithium affect seems to be running rampant in our American society today. It seems to have crept up on us and we don’t even realize it. I wonder, if someone did a study of our water across America, what would they find? What are we being sedated by? Are we overdosing on the false hopes of the American dream? Is it our own placidity that has come to be the drug we cannot live without? We have been slowly hypnotized into a coma by the singsong lullaby of our culture, little by little becoming addicted to our own type of lithium.

We have successfully constructed so many layers of separation between our lives and the anguish of the majority of the world that it is difficult to feel the pain of those so desperately hurting. We’ve effectively padded our lives with the soft feathers of opulence and we are scared to ruffle even one of them, petrified of the uncertainty that lay outside. How can we possibly take on the pain of the world when it would overwhelm and crush us? We know that things must be different and we cry out for change, but if we are frank with ourselves do we really want change? How many of us could honestly say, “I am going to give my vacation savings to the homeless family downtown”, or “I will take a cut in pay so others can keep their jobs”. We must wake up and do something, whether we know what that something is or not; and if we don’t, and we choose to go back to our beautiful houses and storybook lives, and barricade ourselves in to our safety with chains of fear and despair, who is it that is truly dying? When we are able to open our eyes to the pain of those around us, when we begin to feel through all of the layers, the desperate pain of the world, we are compelled to do something to help.

So often when people hear about the suffering in our world, they feel guilty, but rarely does guilt actually motivate action like empathy or compassion. Guilt paralyzes and causes us to deny and avoid what is making us feel guilty. The goal is to replace our guilt with generosity. We all have a natural desire to help and to care, and we simply need to allow ourselves to give from our love without self-reproach. We each must do what we can. This is all that God asks of us.

-Desmond Tutu

So after living here for eight months, we are still trying to wipe that familiar sleep from our eyes and to find what the something is for us. We are adjusting to this very different life and culture, and trying to figure out how to make our voices heard as we speak out for the marginalized multitude. We sometimes feel overwhelmed by the need, shattered by the pain and hopelessness swirling around us, and desperate to have hands to hold through this process, but this is our “something”. Every day we will wake up and do something, and eventually we will have ushered in freedom, beauty and life to this country, an ocean of water to this parched desert, even if it is drop by drop. We know that this burden is too big for us to bear alone; it gets a little lighter as more and more people decide to carry it together.

Bars

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4 Responses to “Fatally Comfortable”

  1. Matt & Misty, Yet another well written, God inspired post. I love the quote from Desmond Tutu concerning “guilt”. I don’t know…perhaps the only thing that can smother the guilt of inaction is inspiration and enthusiasm. Both are overwhelming emotional and physiological experiences that DO cause one to “do something” that is most generally outside the proverbial box that we live in. As you and I’ve discussed many times over the years, the church has used the hammer of guilt as a means of guiding the flock…..unfortunately, not realizing just what real long term effect that it has exacted on their people. I think, speaking from experience, that so much of the lay christian’s time is spent dealing with that guilt that they have little time, energy or inspiration to even seriously think about life outside the box.

    Let’s find a way to siphon some of your enthusiasm and energy into their lives – help “them/us/me” to truly realize (have one of those “Wow! I can really DO this!” awakenings) that by just keeping quiet before God for just a few moments and allowing His thoughts to come into our minds and hearts we really CAN hear His “voice”. And once we hear Him, then we will understand that He won’t ask us to do something or give something that is not already within our means to do/give.

    “May the God of all gods, the King of all kings bless and keep you…
    May He cause His light to shine upon you…
    May the wind always be at your back..
    May the sun and moon be your light by day and night..
    May His Spirit be your guide and His Son your dearest friend.”

    Dad

  2. Mike,

    Thank you for your beautiful words. It is so hard for each of us to find what our something is. I think of when we lived in Colorado and wanted so much to somehow somewhere help someone, our hearts ached for it, but the insulation of our lives made that very difficult. I think where it starts for each of us is stepping outside of our insulation and building relationships; then, rather than finding issues that we want to stand behind, the issues will find us, through the eyes and hearts of our new friends and family.

    Misty

  3. beautiful, wonderful to read your words. thank you for you for sharing YOUR heart and thoughts with the world.

  4. Thank you Jenny. You and Dave are such an inspiration! We love your hearts and passion, and are honored that we get to learn from the wisdom and experience of two such beautiful souls.

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