Let me pause here to add a disclaimer: this post isn’t meant to demonstrate how awesome I am and how not-awesome others are. We are each in different places on different paths, with different, equally important, insight on how to best proceed in this crazy world we live. This is simply a piece of what I figured out.
We live in a backwards, broken world.
We live in an upside-down, selfish country.
We live among a confused and confusing people.
This isn’t news to you, nor me, but every day—every year—we’re reminded of this sad truth, and it only seems to grow worse. The light only more dim.
As a result, old men and women shake their heads, and sigh. Middle age parents cherish and envy childish naivety. Young adults, fresh from college, become increasingly cynical. And the youngest wonder why everyone is so damn sad and angry all the time.
It seems many view life, or society, as a rusted old car, still sputtering, but failing more and more with each new drive.
Everything seems broken, and in a society of self-proclaimed experts, we are extremely talented at complaining about this, providing our copy-pasted advice and solutions. Everyone has an opinion, and everyone knows the solution, yet everything is still broken.
Over the past two semesters, I found myself increasingly attracted to working in the social policy arena of our country. Prior to this, I envisioned myself working with at-risk teens in some inner-city, living out my days loving those with little or no family/friends. A simple, but meaningful career path, no grandeur, no wealth, no fame, and all suited me just fine.
But, starting sometime last semester, my direction started to shift. I’m not sure what started it, but a piece of it began when I started paying attention to the news. The more I watch current events unfold, the more angry I became. I was (am) constantly disgusted with the actions, attitudes, and policies within this country and across the world. The natural response was cynicism, something that plagues me still, and ever will.
At some point, that changed. I think my frustration built to an unbearable level that the only possible response left was either to walk away or get involved. In that moment, and in moments since, I choose to become a part of the solution.
We live in a society that loves to complain, but hates to do anything. If Americans have a talent, it’s a talent for delegating responsibility to anyone but themselves. “That’s what the politicians are for” we say in one moment, then the next we moan about the screwed up state of Congress.
Empty words and inaction accomplish nothing, except chip away at any potential for reform.
I realized something last semester; I realized that I couldn’t sit idle, hoping for the world change.
I have found a similar attitude among those whom call themselves Christians.
Throughout my life, and more so recently since the horror of this past Friday, I have heard a running theme of ‘this world is not my home.’ For those of you from a Christian background, like me, this is probably familiar.
For the sake of brevity, I wont engage in a long theological argument here, but something seems terribly wrong about people who claim God created a world, called it good, and then proceed to lament living here. God created a beautiful, wonderful world, and his Christians want nothing more than to hurry up and leave. And this attitude is accompanied by an apathetic, ‘oh well, I get to go to heaven’ type mentality that is willing to watch the world burn.
While I am still uncertain what I believe when it comes to the afterlife, I refuse to accept a mentality that views this life as an unfortunate burden. Regardless of what waits for me beyond the grave, this world is my home; it may be temporary, but it’s home all the same. And once one claims this world home, inaction is no longer an acceptable reaction to the brokenness around.
Again, I say all of this not to glorify myself, but to expose the underlying problem feeding the surface issues we see on the TV. We live in a broken world, but that’s the natural consequence of a broken people. Especially for those who live in democratic states, there remains no excuse for inaction. Here in America, we have the potential to engender the change we need, but we’re a broken people who’d rather sit on the couch and curse at the TV.
Stop blaming the President, the politicians, the media, and the corporations. Take that finger and point it at yourself. While you’re at it, close your mouth; sign off of Facebook and Twitter. Until we commit to being a part of the solution through active involvement, we surrender our right to complain. Your free speech doesn’t mean a damn thing if the only people who hear it are the TV and your similarly-minded friends.
We have the potential to create the greatest society ever seen, but instead, we choose to watch the world burn and wonder why no one tries to douse the flames.
We can do better. We can be apart of the solution, but it starts with you. It starts with me.