It's been really strange being home. With each passing month, I feel more and more empty. I feel like life is passing me by; as if I'm letting my chances to do what I may have been made to do, simply blow on past. I am excited for what is coming, as the future holds possibility, but until that comes (and hopefully comes soon), I'm not quite sure what to do. After almost a year and a half of studying injustice and working to bring freedom to those who are chained down by oppression, sitting in my parents house in the rural area of Pittsburgh seems so...not for me. I am glad I have been able to spend time with friends and family and catch up with people that I haven't been in close contact with. I'm happy to be involved in my home church, whom I missed while I was gone and found a place where I am able to serve them while I'm home - but I feel like there's more I need to be doing. After seeing a lot of the different things that I have seen, I don't know that I can simply settle down to a 5 day a week job. Not that this is a bad thing if that's what you choose to do. We need people in those jobs. For myself though, I've never belonged in those areas.
I've never found contentment in jobs like the one I currently have. I found contentment in the jungles of the Amazon, while I cried out to God asking why he could let such injustice happen to the Natives and to the children of Puerto Vhelo, or in Bosnia, where I can see the Sarajevo Roses scattered throughout the city, a reminder of those who died during the siege in the 90's, or in Auschwitz, where unspeakable horrors were brought into reality and genocide was committed without remourse. How can I possibly find contentment or hope or life in any of these things? It was when I looked into the eyes of those who suffered from these, when I spoke with women still recovering from the wars, when I played with the children who were left in the jungles to die as infants, when I befriended the soldiers who fought off the Serbian Army as they lay siege to their beautiful city. It is seeing the hope and life in these people that I find this.
When I think of the horrors that are currently destroying this world, the injustice that enslaves us, in a general way - I find myself overwhelmed. Where can I make a dent? How can this happen? If people don't care now, why will they later? But when I set my focus, when I look into the eyes of those affected and see hope within them, that is when I can see clearly. That is when the scales fell from my eyes. I see my friends, working to fight sex trafficking by making and publishing books and documentaries, to bring awareness. I also see them on the ground, not just asking people to help, but actually being that help. I see other friends, working to bring an end to a long running war, so that a new generation may not know war, or those working to save the refugees who are disowned in their surrounding countries for being where they're from. I can see the dents being made. I can see the pain washing away when my friends, who have long suffered under the chains of oppression, are welcomed and loved and included.
So I guess - when I was crying out to God, asking him how he could let things like this happen, I realized he wasn't. It wasn't that he was letting them happen. He was trying to stop them from happening. He was sending people to break those chains. He was sending me to bring love to a world of hate and despair. I found contentment because I realized, God's not ignoring these issues but is actively doing something about them. I read a story once, about a young woman who had been a victim of sex trafficking. In that time, she never wondered where God was. Her faith was strong and she knew God was with her, but her real question was, "where are God's people?" We look at the world and see a broken, fragile existence that many have given up on and we ask where God is. Maybe we're looking at it wrong though. Maybe God has been there all along, and is just waiting on those to take up their call to fight injustice. Maybe it's not God that's the problem, but us. We just choose to blame God because we don't want to take responsibility for a fallen world.
I realize now, in my asking how God could allow such things to happen, that he simply asked right back, "how could you allow such things to happen?" The question needs to be directed at ourselves. How can I let a tyrant abduct children to fight in his war? How can I sit by while people go hungry and cold on the streets of my city? How can I be silent while so many don't have a voice? There are a lot of ways to get involved with fighting injustice. Not everyone needs to or is even meant to fly overseas and take it head on. We can fight injustice in our everyday, by choosing to simply not gossip or put down those who we may think are lesser than ourselves. For myself though, while I will try to do just that and more, I feel this tug to be more involved. I don't care about security and 401k's and all that, but I care about the poor and the broken. I care about helping those who need help. I care about seeing those who go unseen. I care about listening to those who go unheard. I know I make mistakes, even by being blind to those around me who suffer from these very things, and for that I'm sorry, but I will not give up trying to become someone who can do exactly as I've said. I'll keep trying. I can't allow such things to happen in my own life anymore, and I can sit by while it happens throughout the world. I'm willing and ready to take injustice head on.