“A Starting Place”
3 The Lord proclaims: Do what is just and right; rescue the oppressed from the power of the oppressor. Don’t exploit or mistreat the refugee, the orphan, and the widow. Don’t spill the blood of the innocent in this place.Jeremiah 22:3 Common English Bible (CEB)
Every morning I find myself in the same struggle. My desire, my goal, is to spend a few moments of intentional time with myself before jumping into my day. Instead, what happens nearly every morning between the hours of 8:30 and 10 (Yes, I’m spoiled, I know), is that my alarm goes off, I grab my phone to turn it off and I am immediately distracted by the text, email and messenger notifications I received overnight. I open those messages and start my day with the intentionality of a drunken baboon. That quickly I am pulled into the ever-changing, endless flow of the distraction of the media on my screen. Emails, Instagram, Facebook, work, school, the news. I see another tragedy. How heartbreaking. Scroll. Another film I’d like to see. Mental note. Scroll. A product I forgot I need, I mean, want. Double tap. Scroll. Another shooting in my community. Pause, emotions well up. I need coffee, get out of bed. Scroll.
At what point does the desensitization we experience from this overload of heartbreak and meaningless information break through and move us to action? What still breaks our hearts enough to push us into action? The feeling of helplessness is real, so real that it is debilitating at times. There is so much more pain than of us can possibly touch. There is a real and important desire to impact big change for many people. But that’s not always possible.
When we look at the example of Jesus, we see a man whose entire ministry was relatively close to home. He changed the world from home and he did it by caring for the needy in his own community, by telling stories about caring for strangers in our land. The best way to help many is to start by helping a few. Our own communities are full of people born near and far away. People who were forced away from their homes by violence, hurricanes, corrupt governments, evictions and poverty. There is need all around. The barrier is sometimes no more than a language, a dirt road, pride, the simple question of “ how can I best help you?” Start small, start local, the reality is that no act of love and humanization is small.
— Tirzah Villegas