With Love Apathy Can Take No Foothold
This is the last of my little four part series on diametrically opposed conditions. We started with worry and how to move to freedom; stress and how faith can overcome and then fear and it's vanquisher, hope. Now, the last and greatest, apathy and love.
Apathy is a lack of interest or concern. It is a state of being not just in this world, but so of the world that all hope is gone. Of all the ways to live, it is in a state of apathy that scares me the most. I understand it, I wish I didn't but I really do.
I walk the streets in NYC and I am bombarded with desolation, homelessness, hunger and sadness - and this is, by all accounts, a city in better shape than it was even 15 years ago. I walk by the homeless on the street, sleeping on cardboard, placed over grates that offer at least some heat. I try to smile at them, to connect with them, to let them know that I see them as a person, a child of God. If I have money in my wallet I part with it. If I don't, and I usually don't, I say a quick prayer and keep moving.
This is emotionally draining, it can sap your strength, it hurts to see and acknowledge so much pain and to feel powerless to fix it. There are times when, even a smile or a prayer overwhelms me and I barricade myself emotionally, I put my spiritual blinders on, I hide. I only know this is happening after the fact, when I find myself at the office and I don't remember even the subway ride, or back on the train heading home, hiding in one of the rare single seats, head down, not making contact with anyone.
This is the "me" that I like the least, but it's also the one that I need to find a way to love and accept.
If we walk the streets and stop seeing the people in the doorways, if we reduce these children of God to shadows, if we don't allow their suffering to move us to action then we are on the road to apathy. That road is a wide highway to our destruction both personal and as a society. So what can we do? Or better yet, what can I do? You are welcome to join me, there is plenty of room on the bus!
Readers of this blog know that more often than not I don't succeed with everything I set out to accomplish but they also know that the adventure is in the journey. We are all incomplete, evolving, growing, maturing. We are all still being formed - half-baked as my wife would say (though some may be more well done than others). So, what will I try to do?
First, I'll start with what I can control each day - I'll make it a point to smile, share a cup of coffee, give a couple of dollars, say a prayer. I'll volunteer at an organization that is feeding the poor like the St. Francis Breadline in NYC. I'll look beyond my local streets and find organizations that are spread across the globe feeding the poor, educating families, supporting the growth of communities like World Vision and find ways to volunteer. I can pray - it's a gift in itself to pray. I'll use my time, talent and treasure to make a difference in the world. I can love.
With love apathy can take no foothold. With love apathy is banished. With love apathy has no power.
Bits & Pieces
- Big news! We signed our contract with the Rutgers Food Innovation Center. We will work with them to scale up our operation so we can turn this little (ad)venture into a real sustainable business. Our mission will not change - we just hope we can sell more hot sauce to help more people in need. We are intent on changing the world 'one bottle at a time'.
- Our friends at Star 99.1 recorded a short interview with me that is currently playing on the air. If I can get a copy I'll post it so you can hear it.
- The Story Tour is coming to Trenton NJ on December 14. Casting Crowns, Matthew West, Stephen Curtis Chapman, Natalie Grant, Nicole Nordeman all together! The event is sponsored by World Vision, Laurie and I will be their volunteering - stop by and say hello.
- Speaking of Casting Crowns, please pray for little Silas Huffman - the son of bass player Chris Huffman. He is still in his first year of life and awaiting a heart transplant.
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
Matthew 22:-40 (NIV)
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
Matthew 23:23-24 (NIV)