The more I learn about poverty, human trafficking and modern slavery, the more perplexed I am about something. One question pulses in my brain, day after day, week after week.
Not why the pain, why the poverty, why the injustice…. but why was I born where I was born, when I was born? Why me?
Bono refers to this geographical and locational “crap shoot” in his famous quote:
“We can be the generation that no longer accepts that an accident of latitude determines whether a child lives or dies. But will we be that generation?”
I can’t answer the question of “why me.” Because to say that God had a special place in His heart for me and not for my sister in Sudan/India/Columbia who has experienced more pain, loss, fear and anguish than any human being should be allowed to experience is rubbish. I can’t and won’t ever accept that kind of explanation. She and I are sisters, daughters. Both loved, valued and holy. Why does she suffer such pain and I have it too easy?
I don’t know. I may never know.
But, you see, I don’t have to have an answer to move forward. I don’t need to sit here and pontificate the philosophical and theological possibilities of pain, evil and violence. I don’t have to sit here and bemoan the fact that it isn’t fair… that I have too much, that it is too easy for me and too hard for her.
What a waste… of time, energy and potential. A surefire way to waste my life… and potentially many others’ lives.
What I really need to do, and what my sister in Sudan REALLY needs me to do is get up and move. Stop crying and start talking. Embrace my place in this world. Use my voice, my compassion and my influence (as seemingly small as it may be) and advocate for her and for the rest of our sisters and brothers in small ways, big ways, life altering ways.
I am lucky. I have education, ease, affluence, voice, potential at my fingertips… at the tip of my tongue. I was given these things by no merit of my own, but simply because of the latitude I was born.
So what? What do I do with that? What can you do with that?
My choice, therefore, is whether to use these unmerited gifts for GOOD, or to squander them by hoarding them to myself, or worse by shunning or refusing them because it just doesn’t seem fair.
Newsflash, it will never be fair.
Sure, I love comfort and how easy my life is. Who doesn’t? But my comfort and ease is worthless, literally worth nothing of value unless it is used for the good of others, as change agents.
So here I am, a blessed, lucky, healthy, middle class white woman… and I choose to embrace those titles for the good of others. I used to run from them, shun them. But what good did that do my sister? What good can come of me squandering the potential for change that has been made available to me?
Celebrities aren’t the only ones who can use their title and success and fame for good (but props to all who do). I have a platform standing before me, and if you live in the western world, you do too. The size of the platform is irrelevant. All that matters is how and when and why you (and me) step up and use it.
Speak. Advocate. Don’t give up. Demand change. Do good. And then do it all again.
What resources do you have at your beck and call? What title(s) have you been given simply by where and who you were born to?
I am participating in Compassion International’s Blog Month in September. Our community of bloggers are hoping to help get 3,160 new children sponsored this month.
Will you consider a small step onto your own platform to use your gifts, title, and wealth (and yes, if you make more than $2 a day, you fall into the wealthy part of the equation) to sponsor a child?
Meet Golori. She is part of our family. The girls pray for her and talk about her. We love getting her letters which are ALWAYS illustrated in beautiful drawn pictures.
She could not be growing up more differently than my own girls. Her mother, my sister, could not have a more different life story than me. But, because of Compassion’s commitment to my sisters in India and their families and children, we get to participate and support Golori to see her gain access to education, nutrition, and other basic human needs. Knowing what I know about child trafficking, particularly in Asia and Southeast Asia, Golori’s life could take a dark road. It makes my heart fill with thankfulness and joy to think that she is being given tools to escape the evil of sex trafficking by the Compassion community.
And our family has the absolute JOY and humble privilege of supporting her and helping provide alternatives and opportunities too many Indian girls and families will never have access to. Neither Compassion nor I am her “savior”. No. But we are using the gifts of wealth and influence to help offer her a future and hope that she deserves as my daughters’ sister.