Life as a servant, not a teacher or a helper or a volunteer, carries a different air and a different purpose. You see, life as a servant is so very different because you are no longer the smarter, better prepared, and more educated person, you are simply a humble maid seeking to meet the needs of your employer. As a servant, I realize that my role is not to fix everything or design a perfect world with my middle class mindset, but rather to go back to Christ’s nature that brings healing. As I walk through Springfield and the ends of the Earth, I hear the battle cry of children fighting over love, attention, opportunity and food. Their cries pile upon you like shrills in a war zone and at times I feel like the need consumes me.
Yet, true beauty is not found in the accolades, material belongings or profound talents. True beauty emerges from the struggle. The incredible spirits that survive and even attempt to thrive among the daily challenges is truly beautiful. The President of World Vision defines poverty as the lack of opportunity and this battle ensues all around.
These children do not need my pity or wise instruction; they need someone to listen and encourage them. They need someone who can recognize their brilliance and their challenges; they need someone with something positive to say; they need to know their Creator. I seek to invest in lives and attempt to understand my friends’ daily battles. On my bad days, I pretend everything is ok and on my better days I realize the ugliness of my sin of ignorance.
I feel like there are two parts to this chosen avoidance. First my daily life becomes a blinder. I live with friends all blessed beyond understanding and I go home to a family who has excelled through life. I fear that I will never understand poverty. The more I think about poverty, the more I recognize this reality. Even if I gave everything and lived a life of “poverty”, I would always know I could escape with a word to my family; and therefore I will never understand the binding power of the absence of opportunity. This lack of understanding becomes a getaway crutch.
The second part is that I am overwhelmed by the problems. It is hard to know the truth and still feel powerless. Ignorance can be so blissful. I am reminded of the movie Blindside. The picture of two worlds colliding and the realization that all the stereotypes, both parties held, are lies passed through generations. I just want to fix things…find solutions…care for all the hurting. I want to break the restrictions we put on ourselves and reveal the true beauty within each of us. Yet, I am overwhelmed by the task, so I avoid the problem.
The trouble is… I may be able to avoid the “problems”, but these are reality. I like to think that it is not my reality…but it is. My experiences have taught me that my ignorance, reluctance and weak words tighten the grip of poverty. Therefore, in reality, I am part of the “problem”. I see I really have little power, but like the air, each tiny particle is interconnected. We all breathe and share the same air, and while it may be small, our breath impacts the entire atmosphere. God’s ability to magnify our tiny breaths and His desire to draw all men to Himself and be their healer gives significance to my triviality. Every thing we release alters the makeup of the globe and therefore, everyday, I am relearning how to breathe.