Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Small Things

The past two weeks.  It has almost been too much to bear, all the heartache.  All the hatred and the hurting and brokenness everywhere we turn.  It is too much.  I am tempted to shut it out: turn off the news, avoid the rapid-fire of social media politicking.  Sink into my own comfortable life, where my biggest inconveniences of the day revolve around the fact that we have too many clothes to wash in our HE washer in our house with electricity and running water.  Continue about my day to day life, free from stigma of skin color, free from fear of opression and violence.  

What can I do about all that is wrong in this world?  I am often paralyzed by insignificance.  I don't work in a job where I make or carry out policy.  I know nothing about medicine.  I am not educated about how to approach issues of race in this country.  I don't have the means to travel abroad or adopt an orphan.  I don't know any refugees.  

All I have to hold on to is the Gospel and my own broken heart.  And that just has to be enough.  Perhaps it's everything.  

When God allows our hearts to be broken, what is it for?  It can't just be so that we feel sad for a few minutes or days until we forget.  Our hearts are breaking because our Body is broken.  The Body of Christ (or if you're not into that, just the body of our one humanity) is broken.  And what does a body do when part of it is broken or sick?  It rallies.  It sends the rest of the body to fight.  It swells and it sweats and shakes with fever until the brokenness is healed.  If it ignores the hurt, if it doesn't keep working to save the hurting part, it dies.  

Part of us is dying.

I've spent a lot of time in the past few days feeling so overwhelmed.  Feeling angry and sad about the things that I wish were different in the world and so insignificant in the fight.  But through my prayers, God has been quietly reminding me that it all matters.  I matter.  Syria matters.  Mizzou matters.  Beirut and Paris and broken marriages and childhood cancer all matter.  And in the tiny corner of the world where God has placed me, there must be something I can do.  Some way that I can fight for our body; some way that I can help to heal the wounds.  

And in my prayer, God reminds me of the words of Mother Teresa, "Not all of us can do great things.  But we can do small things with great love."  Sometimes doing only the small things seems unsatisfying.  But Mother Teresa's life was full of the small things and the great love of God, and her life was far from inadequate.  

So with this word from God, my family and I will spend the rest of 2015 doing small things.  I don't know what that will look like each day or how I will feel about what we've accomplished come January 1st, but it really isn't about me anyway.  Surely if Jesus can multiply five loaves and two fish to feed thousands, then he can take this meager offering of ours and turn it into something beautiful.  And we would like for you to join us.  Let's rally for this broken body of ours.  We will be posting a picture to Instagram and Facebook each day using the hashtag #smallthingsgreatlove and we'd love to see yours too!  And if you feel like you want to offer a prayer along with your act of love (we will be) then you can hashtag that too...like #smallthingsforSyria or #smallthingsforMizzou or #smallthingsforParis...you get it.  So even though your batch of cookies for the neighbor won't necessarily directly impact childhood cancer, your prayers to go along with it will.  We would love for you to share this with your friends and family and let's see how much we can love each other for the rest of the year.

"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace."