Many times, it happens when I end up on the Documentary Channel. Tonight, flipping through the channels while watching the Food Network (irony of ironies!), I caught the last half of the above documentary, Crayons and Paper. The reaction I had to the suffering in Darfur, the loss, the hopelessness, the hope, was physically painful. It is a pain that is familiar to me.
Call me sentamental, call me dramatic, call me a wimp if you want to, but when I see the real suffering of real people, I ache inside. I think about my comfort, my America, my obsession with my American comfort, and I feel ashamed and helpless. And something in me wants to turn the channel, or the page, and just recoil from the painful pull I feel on the strings of my heart. But I don't. I tell myself,
"Don't. Let yourself feel this. If it pains the very heart of God, let it pain you."
I think the moments when I am closest to who God wants me to be is when I hurt for the pain of others. Others I know, or don't know. When I look at their lives, and I refuse to turn my head, I acknowledge the realness of it. And how can action come if we first refuse to feel, to look, to hurt?
I don't know what to do. I have no plan. I have no answers. But I know that with tears in my eyes, I want a plan to do something to get answers. I want God to answer my questions:
Why is there so much pain in the world of innocents?
What can I do?
What will You do?
Moments after the documentary was over, with me curled up in the fetal position in the corner of my couch with tears coming freely, a commercial airs. To sell me an Ab Roller, so that I can feel good about myself and my rock-hard abs. Futility of futilities! Show me something real, something painful, even. But don't show me how to like myself more...I think I have too much of that already.